A Thorough Examination of the Evidence for Jesus

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A Thorough Examination of the Evidence for Jesus

NEEDS REVISIONS!  This will be a huge resource of information on the evidences given for the existence of a historical Jesus. I will work on it more later, but for now I'll post what most people have already seen. (It will be a good starting point for me as well to continually revise what I already have)

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AL500 wrote:  Here is

AL500 wrote:

 Here is what leading Jesus scholars have to say about the "Jesus is myth" theory. But first I want to invite you to read every encyclopedia under the section of "Jesus."

This is a partial list

"Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed is unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the Palestinian community" (Bultmann, Jesus and the Word, p.13).

The modern Father of the "Jesus is myth" theory is G.A. Wells who himself was not an NT scholar. But he also came to his senses and changed his position.

"G.A. Wells has now abandoned the Christ-Myth hypothesis and has accepted the historicity of Jesus on the basis of the "Q" document" (The Jesus Myth, 1999).

Van Voorst: "Although Wells has been probably the most able advocate of the nonhistoricity theory, he has not been pursuasive and is now almost a lone voice for it. The theory of Jesus nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question" (Jesus Outside the New Testament,, p.14).

F.F. Bruce: "The historicity of Christ is axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the "Christ-myth' theories"(The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable", 1972).

Otto Betz: "No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus" (What do We Know about Jesus," p.9).

E.P. Sanders: "We know a lot about Jesus, vastly more than about John the Baptist, Theudas, Judas the Galilean, or any of the other figures whose names we have from approximately the same date and place" (The Historical Figure of Jesus, 1993).

A.E. Harvey: It would be no exaggeration to say that this event [the Crucifixtion] is better attested, and supported by a more impressive array of evidence, than any other event of comparable importance of which we have knowledge from the ancient world" (Jesus and the Constraints of History,"1982).

Morton Smith: "I don't think the arguments from in (Wells) book deserve detailed refutation.....he argues mostly from silence...many of his arguments are incorrect, far too many to discuss in this space".

R.J. Hoffmann: "Wells presents us with a piece of private mythology that I find incredible beyond anything in the Gospels," (Jesus in History and Myth), pp.47-48).

Werner Kummel: "The denial of the existence of Jesus. [is] arbitrary and ill-founded" (The New Testament: The History of the Investigation of its Problems, p.447, n. 367).

Gunter Bornkamm: "To doubt the historical existence of Jesus at all, was reserved for an unrestrained, tendentious criticism of modern times into which it is not worth while to enter here" (Jesus of Nazareth, p.28).

Van Voorst (referring to the mythicists) states: "Contemporary New Testament scholars have typically viewed their arguments as so weak or bizarre that they relegate them to footnotes, or often ignore them completely" (Jesus Outside the New Testament, p.6).

James Charlesworth: "Jesus did exist; and we know more about him than about almost any Palestinian Jew before 70 C.E." (Jesus Within Judaism, pp.168-169).

Dominic Crossan: "That he was crucified, is as sure as anything historical can ever be" (Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p.145)

Note: Crossan is considered by the liberal school of scholars to be the greatest Jesus historian in the world.

That's a good list. Here are some more:

A)    Case, Shirley J., The Historicity of Jesus Chicago, 1912

Case's The Historicity of Jesus is one of the earliest book-length scholarly refutations of the Jesus Myth I have found. Shirley Jackson Case was a "liberal professor" of New Testament at the University of Chicago who denied the supernatural elements of the Gospels. The Historicity of Jesus was published by the University of Chicago in 1912. Fortunately, it is available online at Peter Kirby's website on Christian Origins.

Case begins by explaining the reason for offering a defence of the mere existence of Jesus. It had little to do with the argument's merit. Although Case thought that a scholarly Jesus Myth theory was possible, it had not been forthcoming:

[The Jesus Myth] is often presented with a zeal which challenges attention even when the argument would not always command a hearing. Its advocates are occasionally accused, and perhaps not always unjustly, of displaying a partisan temper not consistent with the spirit of a truly scientific research, yet they sometimes vigorously declare themselves to be working primarily in the interests of genuine religion. Even though their position may ultimately be found untenable, the variety and insistency with which it is advocated cannot well be ignored.

Page 2.

In a helpful chapter, Case addresses the neo-Christians that Jesus Mythologists are forced to imagine as an explanation of Christianity's origins absent a historical Jesus. Though Case concedes the possibility of a sect of Judaism or mystery religion focused on a completely spiritual figure, he forcefully makes the point that there is no evidence that any such sect had anything to do with Jesus or Christianity:

But what value have these facts for the idea of a pre-Christian Jesus? Is he mentioned anywhere in connection with these sects, or in any of the non-Canonical Jewish writings that have come to us from this period? He certainly is not. In what we know of the tenets and practices of these sects is there anything to indicate his existence? Here, too, specific evidence for an affirmative answer fails. It is true that our knowledge of these movements is relatively meagre and mostly secondary. Yet such descriptions as are given by Philo and Josephus are usually thought to be reliable, and nothing appears here to indicate that the worship of a special cult-god characterized any of the sects or parties then known.

Pages 120-21.

Case also effectively refutes the "dying and rising" pagan parallel argument. Overall, the arguments in Chapter 5 have aged well. Though the alternative theories may have changed (but more often have not), the rationale upon which they rest appears to be the same -- a desire to come up with an explanation, any explanation, other than a historical founder. These reconstructions, however, have even less evidence in their favour than the Jesus they deny.

As Case turns to the Gospel evidence, he notes that Mythologists tend to appropriate "liberal scholarship" and take it too far. Though Mythologists claim that their conclusions are the natural extension of liberal scholarship that main streamers are too afraid to see, Case correctly points out that Mythologists use only the negative results of modern historical inquiry, while ignoring the positive results of the same scholarship. Case also argues that Mythologist arguments equating the date of gospel authorship with their explicit mention by the Church Fathers is convincing:

But we are not to imagine that the above data convey any adequate idea of the actual extent to which tradition about Jesus was known and used in the first half of the second century. The external evidence now known to us pertains more particularly to the history of the gospels' rise to prominence than to the fact of their existence. Since they had not been issued under the aegis of any special authority, it was only gradually that they won their way to general recognition. We remember that Ignatius encountered Christians who were unwilling to accept any written authorities except the "charters," seemingly meaning the Old Testament, yet these individuals were doubtless acquainted with all the essentials of gospel tradition as commonly repeated and interpreted in public preaching and teaching. Their demurrer is not a rejection of gospel tradition but a hesitation about placing any writing on a plane with the Old Testament as "Scripture." Thus it appears that the scantiness of reference to the gospels in the early second century is no fair measure of the probability or improbability of their existence at that time.

Pages 207-08.

Case then proceeds to discuss the reliability of the Gospels as witnesses to Jesus' existence -- if not his miracles. He focuses on the Papias evidence, the reference to Jerusalem, the "genuine Jewish background and a Palestinian setting," and "traces of the original Aramaic speech in which the tradition first circulated." All of this takes us back into the Jewish origins of Christianity. Case then spends much time focusing on elements of Mark that he takes to show genuine interest in a real person named Jesus. There is little new here, but the points are well-made and worth reviewing because Mythologists have spent little time grappling with them. 

His chapter on the Pauline evidence at first glance appears abbreviated. In reality, however, there is much valuable discussion of Paul's letters in another chapter, including an effective response to Mythologist attempts to explain away the reference to "James, the brother of the Lord." So, though the chapter itself may not satisfy, the book as a whole has more to offer on this issue.

This work is obviously aged. For example, Case spends much time refuting the notion that the gospels are literary imitations of the Babylonian Gilgamesh. But I was surprised by some of the arguments that are still persuasive against the Jesus Myth. Overall, this book is a valuable read. Not only because of its relevance to historiography and the origins of the Jesus Myth, but because some of its arguments are still well-taken.

B)    Conybeare, Fred C. The Historical Christ London, 1914

British New Testament scholar Fred C. Conybeare, Professor of Theology at Oxford, provided an effective scholarly response to the Jesus Mythologists of his day in The Historical Christ. Like the main focus of his response, Mythologist John Robertson, Professor Conybeare was a member of the Rationalist Press Association. His work Myth Magic and Morals has been viewed as particularly anti-Christian. Perhaps because of statements like this one: "Thus the entire circle of ideas entertained by Christ and Paul are alien and strange to us to-day, and have lost all actuality and living interest. . . . Jesus Himself is seen to have lived and died for an illusion, which Paul and the apostles shared." (Page 357).

Nevertheless, Conybeare's devotion to history exceeded his philosophical biases against Christianity. Conybeare subjected Robertson's Christianity and Mythology to "withering criticism." For example, while responding to the supposedly many "pagan parallels," Conybeare describes the Mythologists as "the untrained explorers [who] discover on almost every page connections in their subject matter where there are and can be none, and as regularly miss connections where they exist." (Page 7).

Though more modern treatments of these issues will likely be more beneficial to readers, Conybeare's arguments still have relevance. The book also reveals how similar all Mythologist arguments seem to be.  Dating the gospels as late as possible and explaining away the Pauline evidence are unavoidable arguments for the Mythologists.

C)    Goguel, Maurice Jesus the Nazarene: Myth or History, London, 1926.

Maurice Goguel was a Professor of the New Testament in Paris who wrote one of the most thorough attacks on the Jesus Myth of his time. Fortunately, it has been made available online by Peter Kirby at his website on Christian Origins.

Goguel begins his book by reviewing the Non-Christian references to Jesus. Though he is sceptical of Josephus, he finds more value than most in Tacitus' reference to Jesus' crucifixion under Pilate: "But one fact is certain, and that is, Tacitus knew of a document, which was neither Jewish nor Christian, which connected Christianity with the Christ crucified by Pontius Pilate." (Page 42). His defence of this point is persuasive, but rests on a particular reading of Tacitus' reference to Christianity having been extinguished, but revived. Some have thought this a reference to the resurrection. Goguel thinks it a reference to messianic expectations of Judaism and Christianity.

Goguel then turns to some of the extant alternative explanations of Christian origins Jesus Mythologists had offered. He convincingly shows that Drew's theory of pre-existent Joshua worshippers lacks supporting evidence. He also quickly dispatches the old "Nazareth did not exist" argument, as well as the Mythologist alternative explanation of some sort of "Nazarene" sect unrelated to geography being related to a Jesus figure.

Having shown the weakness of alternative theories, Goguel wades into the substance of his case for the existence of Jesus. First, he argues, though Christianity was vigorously attacked by its enemies from its inception, there is no evidence of any of its enemies denying the existence of Jesus. As he succinctly states:

The importance of this fact is considerable, for it was on the morrow of His birth that Christianity was confronted with Jewish opposition. How is it possible to suppose that the first antagonists of the Church could have been ignorant of the fact that the entire story of Jesus, His teaching, and His death corresponded to no reality at all? That it might have been ignored in the Diaspora may be admitted, but it appears impossible at Jerusalem; and if such a thing had been known, how did the opponents of Christianity come to neglect the use of so terrible an argument, or how, supposing they made use of it, does it happen that the Christians succeeded in so completely refuting them that not a trace of the controversy has been preserved by the disputants of the second century?

Page 72.

Other anti-Myth attacks have levelled this same charge. I have yet to see a substantive response to it.

Goguel next turns to the issue of Docetism in early Christianity. Docetism is the idea that Jesus existed on earth in a human appearing form and did the things written of in the gospels, but denied that he assumed true human form. Marcion is a prime example of such a belief. Goguel provides a succinct explanation of the apparent paradox that spawned Docetism -- the attempt to reconcile Jesus' earthly ministry in apparent human form with his divine nature. Because Marcion and others found the idea of human flesh and divinity irreconcilable, they manufactured a heresy that affirmed the historical reality of Jesus but denied his true humanity. Obviously, this is no Jesus Myth since it affirms the historical Jesus. But Goguel's innovative approach to the issue creates a problem for Mythologists that I had not considered. As he explains, if Docetists were looking for a way out of their paradox, why not return to the supposedly Mythical Christianity?

If the Docetists had had the slightest reason to think that Christ was no more than an ideal person without historical reality, they would not have expended such treasures of ingenuity to give an interpretation of His story which cut Him off completely from too intimate contact with humanity. The Docetists thus appear as witnesses to Gospel tradition.

Page 79.

Goguel then turns to the Pauline evidence. In an interesting aside, he notes that "[t]he majority of those who deny the historical character of Jesus repudiate the testimony of Paul's Epistles." This strikes me as representative of perhaps the only real innovation of modern Mythicism, the attempt to bend Paul's letters to their own purposes rather than insist on their inauthenticity. Nevertheless, Goguel responds directly to one enterprising Mythologist of his time who did attempt to make use of the Pauline evidence. I have to admit that a smile of satisfaction crossed my face as I read Goguel's argument that the supposed division between Paul and the Jerusalem Church offers no support for the Mythologist theory (such as Doherty's "riotous diversity" argument suggests). I have myself addressed this argument in my article on the Apostolic Tradition.

Notwithstanding the opposition (exaggerated by the Tübingen school, but nevertheless real) which existed between the apostle Paul and the Jerusalem Christians, who remained more attached to Judaism and its traditional ritual than he was himself, there existed within primitive Christianity a fundamental unity. Paul was conscious of it when summing up the essentials of Christian teaching. He said: "Therefore whether it were I or they (the apostles at Jerusalem) so we preach and so ye believed" (1 Corinthians 15:11). Upon their side the Jerusalemites had confirmed this unity in offering Paul the hand of fellowship and in recognizing that he had received the mission to preach the gospel to the pagans (Galatians 2:7-10). How is it possible to explain this fundamental unity of Christianity if at its origin there only existed conceptions relating to an ideal Christ and to His spiritual manifestations? Paul insists in the most formal way that his conversion took place without direct contact with the Jerusalem church. He declares himself "Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead" (Galatians 1:1). How is it possible to reconcile this absolute independence of Christianity and the apostleship of Paul with the unity of primitive Christianity unless by the fact that the apostle recognized in the activity of the celestial Christ, to whom he attributed the birth of his faith, the continuation and consequence of the historical ministry of Jesus to which the Christianity of the Twelve and the Jerusalem church owed its origin?

I wish Goguel had spent more time on this argument, but he touched on the basics. The unity of early Christianity and the stress on apostolic authority counts heavily against the entirely mythical Jesus.

He then turns to Pauline passages about the "brother of the Lord", "born of a seed of David" (which I covered here), "He was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" and "God had sent His Son, born of a woman". At points I thought I was reading a response to Early Doherty's novel (I supposed) take on the Pauline evidence. Goguel's refutations of Mythic attempts to turn these passages towards themselves take the Mythic explanations head on and finds them wanting. (He even refutes Mythic reliance on the Ascension of Isaiah -- something Doherty also relies on heavily -- , discussing it at length).

After reviewing the Pauline evidence, Goguel rightly and convincingly concludes:

The Epistles of Paul afford then precise testimony in support of the existence of the Gospel tradition before him. They presume a Jesus who lived, acted, taught, whose life was a model for believers, and who died on the cross. True it is that in Paul are only found fragmentary and sporadic indications concerning the life and teachings of Jesus, but this is explained on one hand by the fact that we possess no coherent and complete exposition of the apostle's preaching, and on the other hand by the character of his interests. He had no special object in proving what no one in his time called in question—namely, that Jesus had existed. His unique aim was to prove (what the Jews refused to admit) that Jesus was the Christ.

Page 109.

Jesus the Nazarene then discusses the Pastoral Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews (discussed by me here), the Petrine Epistles, the Johannine Epistles, and Revelations, showing how each adds to the historicist case for Jesus and "necessarily presume the existence of the Gospel tradition." (Page 156).

Goguel then takes up a subject I have addressed here, the notion that the early Christians invented their mythological Jesus out of Old Testament whole clothe. The weakness of this argument, of course, is that Jews and Christians were known to have interpreted actual historical events in the light of Old Testament themes and language. It also ignores the very real possibility that Jesus may have intended for his actions -- such as arriving on a donkey -- to be seen as the fulfilment of prophecy. A further weakness of this argument that Goguel focuses on, however, is that the Messiah of Christianity was not the sort of Messiah that Jews saw in the Old Testament:

The history of Jesus bewildered the Jews, so contrary was it to the way in which they conceived the Messiah. The cross of Jesus had been to Paul the object which prevented his belief in what the Christians said about Him. That which was true of Paul was certainly also true of all those who had received a similar education. The Jew Tryphon is prepared to yield to Justin's argument claiming to prove by scriptural demonstration that the Messiah is called upon to suffer, but he absolutely refuses to admit that the Christ had perished by the infamous punishment of the cross. In his eyes, as in those formerly of Paul, the phrase of Deuteronomy remains an invincible obstacle: "Cursed be he who is hung on a tree" (22:23).

Pages 157-58.

Finally, Goguel turns his attention to the Gospel Traditions. He notes the supposed absence of precise chronological references and the "artificial" framework of the Gospel events, but explains them in ways that are incompatible with the Jesus Myth. Indeed, his discussion of the Gospel material at times seems more focused on refutations than establishing the basic reliability of them as evidence for Jesus' existence -- though this too he argues for.

In summary, the impressive strength of Goguel's book is the specificity and thoroughness with which he engages the Jesus Mythologists of his time. Over and over again he raises their objections and arguments and addresses them directly. This strength is best demonstrated by his discussion of the Pauline evidence. Goguel's other strength is the broader objections he raises as to the plausibility of a mythical origin of Christianity, such as the absence of mention of it by Christianity's critics and the rise of Docetism. However, when it comes to the treatment of the Gospel's as evidence for Jesus' existence, more modern efforts are probably more worthwhile. Nevertheless, I highly recommend reviewing this critique of the Jesus Myth. Many of its arguments have withstood the test of time.

D)    Wood, Herbert Did Christ Really Live? London, 1938

An accessible response to the Jesus Mythologists of his day. Wood explained how Mythologists tended to sacrifice sound historical method in an attempt to discredit Christianity. He also relied on discussions of Non-Christian writers, such as Tacitus and Josephus, to undermine the Mythologist position. Although a respected work at its time, more recent treatments on the subjects are a better option.

E)    Marshall,I. Howard I Believe in the Historical Jesus Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977

I. Howard Marshall was a leading New Testament scholar who passed away near the end of the last millennium. He was especially well known for his works on Luke-Acts, including Luke: Theologian and Historian and his commentary on The Acts of the Apostles. His book, I Believe in the Historical Jesus, was written in 1972 and is a response to some rather unsophisticated articulations of the Jesus Myth, including the early work of G.A. Wells.

In the introduction, Marshall cogently describes the state of the question by pointing out that in the mid-20th century, one of the few "authorities" to consider Jesus as a myth was a Soviet Encyclopaedia. He then discusses the then recent work of G.A. Wells, who he finds to be imminently unpersuasive:

[A]n attempt to show that Jesus never existed has been made in recent years by G.A. Wells, a Professor of German who has ventured into New Testament study and presents a case that the origins Christianity can be explained without assuming that Jesus really lived. Earlier presentations of similar views at the turn of the century failed to make any impression on scholarly opinion, and it is certain that this latest presentation of the case will not fare any better.

Though writing more than 30 years ago, Marshall was correct that Wells' impact on the scholarly community would be nil. He has convinced no one of importance.

Marshall's own treatment of the question is somewhat unfocused and dated. Despite its title he does not focus exclusively on the Jesus Myth. Though I highly recommend all of Marshall's writings on Luke-Acts, readers would probably be better served by obtaining more recent discussions of these issues. This is not necessarily due to any deficiency on Marshall's part, but may speak more to the unsophisticated articulation of the Jesus Myth to which he responded.

F)    France, R.T. The Evidence for Jesus London, 1986

One of the few full-length treatments of the Jesus Myth by a leading, contemporary New Testament scholar, The Evidence for Jesus is an inexpensive and accessible refutation of the Jesus Myth. Though The Evidence gives special focus to the arguments of G.A. Wells, it also responds to other radical theories about Jesus--not all of which are Jesus Myths. Yet France indicates that he takes Well's seriously because of his "painstaking attention to detail and a calmly rational tone." (Page 12). Nevertheless, France concludes that Well's basic approach to the issue is flawed:

"[Wells] always selects from the range of New Testament studies those extreme positions which best suit his thesis, and then weaves them together into a total account with which none of those from whom he quoted would agree."

Page 12.

France proceeds to respond to Wells and others on many fronts. Though many sections are valuable, the real strength of the book is France's unapologetic argument that the Gospels provide the best and fullest evidence for the existence and life of Jesus.

France begins with a sober discussion of the Non-Christian evidence related to Jesus. Most of it, such as Tacitus and Mara bar Serapion, he finds offer little direct evidence about Jesus. He then turns to a discussion of the Jewish evidence, providing a thorough discussion of the two references in Josephus--quite forcefully dismantling Well's rather dismissive approach to the subject. After one of the better treatments of the subject in a popular book (though relatively brief), France concludes that "the scepticism which dismisses the Testimonium Flavianum wholesale as a Christian fabrication seems to owe more to prejudice than to a realistic historical appraisal of the passage." (Page 31). As France turns to the Talmudic references to Jesus he finds them of less value than Josephus, but notes that they too provide independent, though indirect, evidence of Jesus' existence and reputation as a miracle worker:

By at least the early second century Jesus was known and abominated as a wonder-worker and teacher who had gained a large following and had been duly executed as 'one who lead Israel astray.' Uncomplimentary as it is, this is at least, in a distorted way, evidence for the impact Jesus' miracles and teachings made. The conclusion that it is entirely dependent on Christian claims, and that 'Jews in the second century adopted uncritically the Christian assumption that he had really lived' is surely dictated by dogmatic scepticism. Such polemic, often using 'facts' quite distinct from what Christians believed, is hardly likely to have arisen less than a century around a non-existent figure.

Page 39.

After discussing references to the historical Jesus in the Epistles of Paul, France frankly concedes that it is from the Gospels that we gain the bulk of the evidence for Jesus. With a scholar's familiarity with his subject, France moves through Gospel questions such as the genre of the gospels, the fluidity of oral tradition, the creativity of early Christians, theological motivation and historical credibility. His discussion of midrash is particularly relevant, showing that mythic attempts to cast the Gospels in such terms fail because evidence that midrash was ever used to invent recent historical episodes is lacking. Page, 100. France also provides an informed, yet common sense discussion, of the differences between the Gospels. Though by no means dismissive of these difficulties, he cautions that normal historical methods should be followed to address them:

Any student of history, especially of ancient history, is familiar with the problem, and any responsible historian confronted by apparently discrepant accounts in his sources will look first for a reasonable, realistic way of harmonizing them.

Page 112.

In short, France spends much of his discussion of the Gospels in effectively responding to the mores sensationalistic claims against their trustworthiness. Time and again France reveals the problems underlying the scepticism many cling to regarding the Gospels. Though the treatments are by necessity brief, they are concise and persuasive. Those looking to dig deeper into these issues will find that France's endnotes provide helpful resources.

France culminates his discussion of the Gospels by examining the intentions of the Gospel writers and provides examples of accurate historical references. He begins by focusing on Luke's prologue and discussing the historical accuracy of Luke/Acts:

In the case of Luke, then, his claim is to be a careful historian who has researched his subject and can now offer the 'truth', and while the case is not entirely one-sided, there seems good reason to believe that his performance, where it can be checked, generally matches his claim. There may be room for debate over details of the information he offers, but there seems little ground for viewing his account of Jesus as substantially at variance with the facts.

Page 128.

France then argues that Mark and Matthew seem to share Luke's interest in presenting historical information. Though he concedes that Matthew seems intent on showing that prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus, France points out that "there is the further consideration that a claim to 'fulfilment' is surely rather empty if the events in which the scriptural pattern is claimed to be fulfilled are known to be imaginary." (Page 129).

France spends more time on John, refuting the outdated notion that it is a "mystical gospel." He accomplishes this by pointing to the author's stated intent of sharing knowledge about Jesus earthly ministry (John 20:30-31), as well as the recent archaeological discovery of the Pool of Bethesda--which matches quite well John's reference in 5:2. (Due to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE, as well as the expulsion of Jews from that area, John's knowledge of the pool must be counted as an accurately preserved memory from Jesus' ministry). France also discusses how modern scholarship has come to see that John's account of the Trial of Jesus, by far the longest and most intricate of the Gospels, conforms best to the actual circumstances:

A comparison of the details of the story with what is known of Roman judicial procedure in the provinces in general, and of the peculiar circumstances of Judea in particular, suggests that it is more probable that the additional detail derives from a well-informed circumstantial account of a capital hearing before the prefect of Judea.

Page 132.

If the dating of John to the late first century (or later) are on the mark, the only explanation for John's confirmed accuracy is that he or his community accurately preserved memories about specific events from 60-70 years earlier. This is not the stuff of free creation, but of history remembered.

Having shown that the Gospels were intended to be read as historical as well as theological, France reveals a significant weakness of the Jesus Myth. Even if written later than the modern consensus, the Gospel authors' intent of writing history combined with the confirmed accuracy of many of their references and characterizations show that they are better explained as ancient biographies of a real person who has left behind traditions of his deeds and teachings rather than an entirely mythical creation. All in all, France makes a concise and persuasive argument that the Gospels must be taken seriously as historical evidence for the life, deeds, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Most Mythologists spend only a few pages explaining the Gospels away as being written late, claiming they contradict each other, or by classifying them as "midrash" or "fiction." Until they provide in depth scholarship on the nature of the Gospels' genre and sources, France's arguments show why Mythologists will remain in the margins of scholarly discourse.

The main deficiency of The Evidence is that it gives inadequate attention to the Pauline evidence. Nevertheless, given the scope of the book and the focus on the Canonical Gospels, there is much to be gained by reading it. Considering the price and range of ground covered in a highly proficient manner, I recommend this book.

G)    Smith, Morton "The Historical Jesus" in Jesus in Myth and History (ed. R. Joseph Hoffman and Gerald A. Larue), Buffalo, 1986.

Although Morton Smith's unorthodox reconstruction of Jesus' life portrays him as a magician, his response to the Jesus Myth deserves mention. In his article "The Historical Jesus," Morton Smith gives special attention to G.A. Wells. As Smith sees it, Wells theory is almost entirely based on an argument from silence. The purported silence of Paul especially. Smith points out that a fundamental flaw in Well's approach is that in order to explain just what it was that Paul and other early Christians believed, he is forced to manufacture "unknown proto-Christians who build up an unattested myth . . . about an unspecified supernatural entity that at an indefinite time was sent by God into the world as a man to save mankind and was crucified." (Pages 47-48). According to Smith, Wells "presents us with a piece of private mythology that I find incredible beyond anything in the Gospels." (Ibid).

Not only does the Pauline evidence fail to support such a view, this position has less corroborative evidence than the supposedly mythical Jesus whose existence is denied. This is a key insight and one of the biggest stumbling blocks for Jesus Mythologists. No matter how poorly they may assess the evidence for Jesus to be, their own reconstructions of early Christianity are never a better explanation.

I offer Smith more as an example of how even an unconventional liberal scholar assesses the Jesus Myth, than as a recommended purchase.

H)    Van Voorst, Robert Jesus Outside the New Testament Grand Rapids, 2000

Like France, Van Voorst is one of the few contemporary New Testament scholars to devote much time to the Jesus Myth. His treatment is the latest from a respected New Testament scholar that I have found. In Jesus Outside the New Testament, Van Voorst devotes most of Chapter 1 to discussing the Jesus Myth, including a helpful overview of its historical development. At the end of the chapter, Van Voorst helpfully summarizes seven grounds upon which New Testament scholars and historians have continuously rejected the Jesus Myth. The seven points largely focus on G.A. Wells, "since his is both contemporary and similar to the others."

1. Misinterpreting Paul

Jesus Mythologists routinely misinterpret Paul's relative silence about some biographical details of the life of Jesus. "As every good student of history knows, it is wrong to suppose that what is unmentioned or  not detailed did not exist. Arguments from silence about ancient times ... are especially perilous." (Page 14). As Van Voorst explains, "we should not expect to find exact historical references in early Christian literature, which was not written for primarily historical purposes. Almost all readers of Paul assume on good evidence that Paul regards Jesus as a historical figure, not a mythical or mystical one." (Page 15).

2. Dating the Gospels

Van Voorst points out that Jesus Mythologists are forced to offer radically late dating of the Canonical Gospels. Such efforts are not justified by the evidence because Mark was "probably written around the year 70" and Matthew and Luke "probably date to the 80s." Van Voorst also notes that the late dating of the gospels "cannot explain why the Gospel references to details about Palestine are so plentiful and mostly accurate." (Ibid.)

3. Reading Too Much Into Gospel Development

Mythologists often claim that evidence of literary development and errors in the Gospels support the idea that Jesus did not exist. But as Van Voorst points out, "development does not necessarily mean wholesale invention, and difficulties do not prove non-existence." (Ibid). In other words, being well-written does not make you fiction. Nor does making mistakes.

4. Absence of Opposition

Van Voorst notes that Jesus Mythologists have failed to "explain to the satisfaction of historians why, if Christians invented the historical Jesus around the year 100, no pagans and Jews who opposed Christianity denied Jesus' historicity or even questioned it." (Ibid.) I agree fully with this assessment and find this to be one of the least discussed but most obvious flaws in the Jesus Myth. I would only add that, since Jesus Myths necessarily require a period of development from Mythical Spirit Being to Man God, the absence of internal Christian conflict on this issue (in light of the prevalence of other internal dissension) adds significantly to the weight of this point.

5. Dismissed Non-Christian Evidence

Jesus Mythologists rely partially on "well-known text-critical and source-critical problems" in ancient Non-Christian references to Jesus, but go beyond the evidence and difficulties by claiming that these sources have no value. They also ignore "the strong consensus that most of these passages are basically trustworthy." (Ibid).

6. Agendised "Scholarship"

Jesus Mythologists are not doing history, but polemics. "Wells and others seem to have advanced the non-historicity hypothesis not for objective reasons, but for highly tendentious, anti-religious purposes. It has been a weapon of those who oppose the Christian faith in almost any form, from radical Deists, to Free thought advocates, to radical secular humanists and activist atheists like Madalyn Murray O'Hair." (Page 16).

7. Absence of a Better Explanation

Van Voorst concludes by noting that Jesus Mythologists have consistently failed to offer a better explanation for the origins of Christianity than the existence of Jesus as its founding figure. Though various mythical origins have been attempted, they are even more deficient in corroborative evidence than the existence of Jesus. "The hypothesis they have advanced, based on an idiosyncratic understanding of mythology, have little independent corroborative evidence to commend them to others." Ibid. Obviously, the fanciful--and completely unsupported--reconstructions of early Christianity mandated by the Jesus Myth have proven an insurmountable obstacle.

It is for all these reasons Van Voorst concludes, that "[b]iblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted." (Ibid).

Though Van Voorst's opening chapter is worth the price of admission, the rest of his book is an excellent review of the ancient evidence for Jesus "outside the New Testament." Though not targeted at the Jesus Myth per se, Van Voorst's analysis and conclusions deals blow after blow to it. Jesus Outside the New Testament is the best introduction to all of the usual topics, from the Roman references--Thallus, Suetonius, Pliny, and most importantly Tacitus--to the Jewish sources--Josephus and the Talmud--to post New Testament Christian writings. The term "introduction," however, may be deceiving. Van Voorst deals with each subject in accessible depth, addressing often overlooked objections to such passages as Tacitus' references to Jesus (shown to be without merit). He takes these objections seriously and concedes their merit (admitting that Pliny is not "a witness to Jesus independent of Christianity&quotEye-wink or refutes them decisively (showing that Josephus provides two "non-Christian witnesses to Jesus&quotEye-wink.

Finally, a surprising but welcome feature of this book is that it devotes an entire chapter to "Jesus in the Sources of the Canonical Gospels." This chapter is packed with excellent discussions (and bibliographical references) about the sources of Matthew, Luke, and John. Each section lays out the likely contents of these sources in convenient charts and provides informed discussions of their origins. Perhaps the most insightful discussion is of "L"--Luke's unique material--which Van Voorst concludes was likely a "complete" pre-existing source of material about Jesus. Next he provides enlightening discussions of "M"--Matthew's unique material--and the Gospel of John's "Signs Source." He caps off the chapter with an excellent overview of the "Q" question, accepting the established consensus that it was a source for Matthew and Luke, but chiding its reconstructions by scholars such as Burton Mack and John D. Crossan--noting that "attempts to draw a firm distinction between sapiential and apocalyptic material and to force them into different strata" are "probably wrong." (Pages 166-67). Any Jesus Mythologist who attempts to dismiss these Gospels as second century writings or simply expansions of the Gospel of Mark must deal with the arguments summarized so effectively in this chapter because the real question is not necessarily when they were written, but the nature and province of their sources. So far as I have seen, however, none have.

This books belongs on the shelf of everyone interested in the study of the historical Jesus. I highly recommend it.

Conclusion

In my opinion, the two best treatments of the subject are by R.T. France, The Evidence for Jesus, and Robert Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament. Maurice Goguel's Jesus the Nazarene is a very valuable early refutation that remains powerfully relevant today. I also found Shirley Case's The Historicity of Jesus to be a worthy discussion of the issues. Yet much can be learned from each of the works discussed above, not the least of which is that claims that the Jesus Myth has never been seriously refuted by mainstream scholarship are false. A review of the refutations of the Jesus Myth also reveals just how little their arguments have changed, excepting perhaps the treatment of the Pauline evidence. Earlier attempts appear to have focused on claiming that Paul too was a myth or that his letters were later inventions of the Church. Having seen such arguments appropriately relegated to the dustbin of the scholarly community, more recent Mythologists have attempted to interpret Paul -- and his many apparent references to a human Jesus -- as referring to an entirely spiritual Jesus. So far these arguments have met with the same success of their predecessors: None.   From http://www.bede.org.uk/price8.htm

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Excellent work Apatheon

Excellent work Apatheon


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Could you please cite where your proof is?

I have seen several posts "claiming" refutation, but after reviewing them I was not impressed. None of the proof you mention was argued sufficiently to overturn Rook's essay.

Large jumps and bad landings by individuals who posted poorly constructed conclusionary blurbs doesn't serve to refute and only proves how desperate those who follow Fundamentalist/Evangelical practices are at supporting their positions.

I spent a great deal of time on a Christian Forum and was never refuted, in fact after posting Rook's essay, it lead to my eventual banishment from the Forum. 

I see the same circular reasoning which requires that the NT be accepted as fact and the proceed as if it is universal. It isn't!, in fact the pathetic attempts by F/E members simply reinforce how they are seen publicly and I always found it quite humorous to read the responses from such persons with the outcome always the same, nothing from these people was presented logically, based upon solid evidence and most of the quotes were out of context.

 

TFR

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AL500 Said: THAT IS TOTALLY

AL500 Said: THAT IS TOTALLY INCORRECT! The NT CLEARLY established the deity of Christ!  Against ROOK's claim
His divinity was not established until 325 A.D.  And Rook was right when he said 325 AD. Thats the various Christian groups convened at the Council of Nicea and they decided whether he was divine or not. Silly theist doesnt even know the basic outline of his own faith, How cute.
Anyway The NT was created until even later until 367 AD.


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otakufaith wrote: AL500

otakufaith wrote:
AL500 Said: THAT IS TOTALLY INCORRECT! The NT CLEARLY established the deity of Christ! Against ROOK's claim
His divinity was not established until 325 A.D.And Rook was right when he said 325 AD. Thats the various Christian groups convened at the Council of Nicea and they decided whether he was divine or not.Silly theist doesnt even know the basic outline of his own faith, How cute.
People, like you and Rook, who make elementary blunders like the one above should be very careful of the use of the word "silly".  Anyone who thinks that the  Council of Nicea "decided whether he was divine or not" needs to stop being so silly and go back to their books to read up on what was actually being discussed at Nicea.It's basic and rather laughable errors like that one that makes Rook's juvenile claim to be "a historian" fairly ... well ... "silly" is the word that springs to mind.

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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I just noticed that Rook

I just noticed that Rook Hawkins - the 24 year old kid who is meant to be the the mighty guru of this thread - hasn't responded to it since last year. Rook - wake up. You may have been snooozing inside some insular little bubble whereby your buddies let you get away with hilarious errors like "the Council of Nicea decided whether Jesus was divine or not", but you can't expect to slumber in that stupid cul de sac forever.

Years ago I played the game of "taunt the fundie". It's a jolly little hobby for a sharp young atheist, and one that makes us feel we have some intellectual hair on our weedy little chests. Confronting some people who actually know the sh** whereof they speak, on the other hand, is another craft entirely Rook. As you are about to learn.

Now, if you claim that the Council of Nicea determined whether "Jesus was divine or not", you are making a mighty big claim about HISTORY Rook. Is that really what you're claiming, Mr "Critical Historian"? Because if you are, this fellow atheist has a great big can of whoop ass to open up on ya.

Just thought I'd mention it. Perhaps someone could shake the "Critical Historian" awake and get him to answer this post. It seems he's become too used to like-minded people stroking his tiny ego and not used enough to like-minded, non-Christian people kicking him in the intellectual @ss.

 

WAKE UP ROOK!

 

Wake up and talk some history. I can hardly wait. Wink

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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...and yet, Ahura Mazda,

...and yet, Ahura Mazda, you bring nothing of your own to the discussion...

Or is calling Rook out just an ego-massage for you? 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

...and yet, Ahura Mazda, you bring nothing of your own to the discussion...

Or is calling Rook out just an ego-massage for you?

 

Er, umm, no "jcgadfly" - anyone can see that what I "brought" to the discussion was a pertinently sharp notice regarding the historical claim that "the various Christian groups convened at the Council of Nicea .... decided whether [Jesus] was divine or not". If you, "otakufaith" or the rather elusive "Rook" wants to defend that remarkable claim with actual historical evidence, I'll be ready to respond.

 

And you might find that when you guys get sloppy with your history around atheists with relevant qualifications who study history objectively it's a bit harder to slip and slide around your blunders than it is with clueless fundies.Wink
 

If you guys want to fly the flag of atheism for the rest of us, then you'll need to be much less clumsy. Rook may not be the worst offender by any means (looking over this forum, I'd say he's actually one of the least offenders - there are some total kooks here) but if you guys don't want to end up looking as utterly dumb as Creationist fundies then you really need to lift your game.

To be frank, you're making we atheists look stupid. Stop it. Saying demonstrably idiotic things like "they decided if Jesus was a god or not at Nicea in 325 AD" just makes you (and, unfortunately, me) look really, really dumb

Do you want Christians to pick you up on stupid errors like this?  Are you trying to undermine valid points by arguing crap just because you can get away with it with the more stupid fundies.  You're embarrassing those of us who know our stuff with these childish misrepresentations.

 Do your homework kids, or prepare to be the butt of richly deserved ridicule.  If you're going to pretend to represent the intelligent end of atheism, get your basic facts straight.

 

 

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

...and yet, Ahura Mazda, you bring nothing of your own to the discussion...

Or is calling Rook out just an ego-massage for you?

 

Er, umm, no "jcgadfly" - anyone can see that what I "brought" the the discussion was a sharp notice regarding the historical claim that "the various Christian groups convened at the Council of Nicea .... decided whether [Jesus] was divine or not". If you, "otakufaith" or the rather elusive "Rook" wants to defend that remarkable claim with actual historical evidence, I'll be ready to respond.

 

And you might find that when you guys get sloppy with your history around atheists who study history objectively it's a bit harder to slip and slide around your blunders than it is with clueless fundies.Wink

 

If you guys want to fly the flag of atheism for the rest of us, then you need to be less clumsy. Rook may not be the worst offender by any means (looking over this forum, I'd say he's actually one of the least offenders - there are some total kooks here) but if you guys don't want to end up looking as uterly dumb as Creationist fundies then you really need to lift your game.

You're making atheists look stupid. Stop it. Saying demonstrably stupid things like "they decided if Jesus was a god or not at Nicea in 325 AD" just makes you (and me) look really, really dumb.

 

Do you want Christians to pick you up on stupid errors like this? Do your homework kids, or prepare to be the butt of richly deserved ridicule.

 

 

Yet again, you don't bring up what the First Council of Nicea really talked about. Do you even know?

Just for giggles, I'll tell you - one of the things they discussed was whether the Father and the Son were of the same substance <the creed that came from this says that Jesus was "one in being with the Father">. The discussion came up to combat the teachings of Arius. This sure sounds like a discussion about Jesus' divinity to me.

Link: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/nicea.htm

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Yet again, you don't bring up what the First Council of Nicea really talked about. Do you even know?

 

Well, "just for giggles", yes pal - I do "know". Being an atheist with historical training, I tend to pay attention to the sources which tell us what the Council talked about. Which sources? Well kiddo, these ones:

Theodoret, Historia Ecclesia, Book I, ch.6-13 , Sozomen, Historia Ecclesia, Book 1, ch.21, Eusebius, Vita Constantini, Book III, ch.6ff., Eusebius, On the Feast of Easter, 8 (PG. 24.701), Athanasius, De decretis synodis, Athanasius, Ep. ad episcopos Africae, 5.ff. , Epiphanius, Haereses or Panarion, 69, Philostorgius, HE I.7, 7a. and Rufinus, Historia Ecclesiastica 10,1-6.

Ooops, that looks like a list of real ancient sources given by someone who knows what the **** they're talking about, doesn't it kid? They happen to be our sources of information about what happened at Nicea. So perhaps you'd like to show me where any of them detail that the Arians didn't think Jesus was God. Go ahead - because there will be several generations of professional historians who will be astounded at your groundbreaking analysis if you can do so.

 

Either that, or you really need to get a good hard grip.

 

Quote:
Just for giggles, I'll tell you - one of the things they discussed was whether the Father and the Son were of the same substance

 

And "just for giggles", I'll tell you that anyone with one tenth of the vaguest fragment of a clue would know that the question of whether "God the Son" and "God the Father" were "one in being" with each other or "proceeded from" each other has ZERO to do with whether both were "God".

 

Though if you have evidence to the contrary, there are hundreds of thousands of professional historians who will be flocking to your door.

Unless, of course, you're just someone else who has (intentionally?) misunderstood the Arian Controversy. *yawn*

Quote:
This sure sounds like a discussion about Jesus' divinity to me.

 

But it sure doesn't sound like a discussion of whether he was divine or mortal to anyone with a clue. Unless, of course, you're an idiot.

Or trying to misrepresent the evidence the way Creationists misrepresent the evidence about evolution. Are you trying to be deliberately deceptive or are you just dumb? Do tell.

 

If the former, please stop - atheism doesn't need liars, thanks. If the latter, get a clue. Your post and Rook's feeble misrepresenatations of the facts just hurt the cause of clear-eyed historians. I've just spent several hours on another forum debunking those idiot "Jesus Mythers" who try to pretend Nazareth didn't exist in the First Century. When I'm thumping these morons in the head with e-mails from Jewish archaeologists who are there, digging up First Century pot sherds, I'm acutely aware that "atheist" morons who will argue any old crap are just plain embarrasing.

 

Please beg, borrow or steal a clue. Or just shut up and stop making us look dumb.


The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Yet again, you don't bring up what the First Council of Nicea really talked about. Do you even know?

 

Well, "just for giggles", yes pal - I do "know". Being an atheist with historical training, I tend to pay attention to the sources which tell us what the Council talked about. Which sources? Well kiddo, these ones:

Theodoret, Historia Ecclesia, Book I, ch.6-13 , Sozomen, Historia Ecclesia, Book 1, ch.21, Eusebius, Vita Constantini, Book III, ch.6ff., Eusebius, On the Feast of Easter, 8 (PG. 24.701), Athanasius, De decretis synodis, Athanasius, Ep. ad episcopos Africae, 5.ff. , Epiphanius, Haereses or Panarion, 69, Philostorgius, HE I.7, 7a. and Rufinus, Historia Ecclesiastica 10,1-6.

Ooops, that looks like a list of real ancient sources given by someone who knows what the **** they're talking about, doesn't it kid? They happen to be our sources of information about what happened at Nicea. So perhaps you'd like to show me where any of them detail that the Arians didn't think Jesus was God. Go ahead - because there will be several generations of professional historians who will be astounded at your groundbreaking analysis if you can do so.

 

Either that, or you really need to get a good hard grip.

 

Quote:
Just for giggles, I'll tell you - one of the things they discussed was whether the Father and the Son were of the same substance

 

And "just for giggles", I'll tell you that anyone with one tenth of the vaguest fragment of a clue would know that the question of whether "God the Son" and "God the Father" were "one in being" with each other or "proceeded from" each other has ZERO to do with whether both were "God".

 

Though if you have evidence to the contrary, there are hundreds of thousands of professional historians who will be flocking to your door.

Unless, of course, you're just someone else who has (intentionally?) misunderstood the Arian Controversy. *yawn*

Quote:
This sure sounds like a discussion about Jesus' divinity to me.

 

But it sure doesn't sound like a discussion of whether he was divine or mortal to anyone with a clue. Unless, of course, you're an idiot.

Or trying to misrepresent the evidence the way Creationists misrepresent the evidence about evolution. Are you trying to be deliberately deceptive or are you just dumb? Do tell.

 

If the former, please stop - atheism doesn't need liars, thanks. If the latter, get a clue. Your post and Rook's feeble misrepresenatations of the facts just hurt the cause of clear-eyed historians. I've just spent several hours on another forum debunking those idiot "Jesus Mythers" who try to pretend Nazareth didn't exist in the First Century. When I'm thumping these morons in the head with e-mails from Jewish archaeologists who are there, digging up First Century pot sherds, I'm acutely aware that "atheist" morons who will argue any old crap are just plain embarrasing.

 

Please beg, borrow or steal a clue. Or just shut up and stop making us look dumb.


Enlighten me.

How is a discussion about whether Jesus is made of the same stuff as God not a discussion of divine v. mortal? I don't see that they had a dispute about the divinity of God so who was left to discuss?

Do you believe that there is more than one kind of divine stuff?

Show me that you didn't just list those sources from a website.

<apologies for the attitude - I had someone threaten my life this morning and it has made me less than happy> 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote: Enlighten

jcgadfly wrote:

Enlighten me.

How is a discussion about whether Jesus is made of the same stuff as God not a discussion of divine v. mortal?

Your problem is that you've assumed that the discussion was "whether Jesus is made of the same stuff as God". That was not remotely close to what the debate was about. BOTH sides in the debate agreed that Jesus was divine. There was no disagreement about that at all. The question was whether he, as "God the Son", was entirely equal to and one in being with "God the Father" (homoousios - of one substance with the Father) or whether he was somehow inferior, subordinate and proceeding from the Father (homoiousios - like the Father) while still being very much God.

Quote:
I don't see that they had a dispute about the divinity of God so who was left to discuss?

How Jesus, as God, stood in relation to the Father, who was also God. Were they the same person and entirely equal (the Orthodox position) or the same person but not entirely equal (the Arian position)? That was the dispute. The divinity of either or both was never in question.

Quote:
Do you believe that there is more than one kind of divine stuff?

Do you believe there is more than one kind of pink unicorn? What part of "I'm an atheist" didn't you get?

Quote:
Show me that you didn't just list those sources from a website.

This is really, really elementary stuff. It's an embarrassment to atheists that people here (not you, this Rook guy) are proclaiming themselves to be "historians" and making such ridiculous blunders. It's like Christians who call themselves "scientists" and then come out with howlers like "evolution is only a theory". If you want a beginner's level guide to what the Arian Controversy was and wasn't about, you can have a look at Bart Ehrman's Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Dan Brown's stupid novel has perpetuated the nonsense that the Council of Nicea discussed whether Jesus was divine rather than how he was divine. Much to the frustration of those of us who don't get our understanding of history from third-rate thrillers.

Or from third-rate discussion board posters. The fact that Rook makes such a laughable error should be a big loud warning bell to you that a 24 year old amateur with delusions of competence is not a reliable source of information about anything much.

Quote:
<apologies for the attitude - I had someone threaten my life this morning and it has made me less than happy>

Sorry to hear that. If I was heavy on the sarcasm then think about how sarcastic we atheists tend to get with some of the more boneheaded errors Creationist cut-and-pasters make about science. This is on the same level of stupidity. Atheists are meant to be smarter and it's embarrassaing to see this nonsense being propogated on a board that is supposed to be debunking myths, not perpetuating them.

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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Ahura Mazda wrote: [ If I

Ahura Mazda wrote:
[

If I was heavy on the sarcasm then think about how sarcastic we atheists tend to get with some of the more boneheaded errors Creationist cut-and-pasters make about science. This is on the same level of stupidity. Atheists are meant to be smarter and it's embarrassaing to see this nonsense being propogated on a board that is supposed to be debunking myths, not perpetuating them.

Nice to see an atheist stand against the Jesus Myth hypothesis.  

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

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Christos wrote: Nice to

Christos wrote:

Nice to see an atheist stand against the Jesus Myth hypothesis.

 

I wish I didn't have to. Fortunately, most atheists don't fall into the trap of taking scepticism beyond the point of credibility.

Unfortunately there are some atheists who do. They tend to be recovering fundamentalist Christians, often reacting against a fundie upbringing by going from one extreme ("Jesus is LORD! Josh McDowell says so!" ) to another ("Jesus NEVER EXISTED! Earl Doherty says so!" ). They also tend to take their black-and-white thinking, chop logic and missionary zeal from their earlier fundamentalism to their new one.

The result is the sort of sloppy research, elementary historical errors and circular arguments we see on this thread and on the rest of this board. Bumbling fundamentalists are always ridiculous, regardless of their creed.

Thankfully the ones on this board tend to favour Doherty's flawed but not totally nuts hypothesis. But when Jesus Myther fundies do venture out beyond simply nitpicking around the evidence and into actually coming up with an hypothesis about who invented Jesus, when and why, well, that's when they really go dancing off into fantasy land.

Doherty's imaginary branch of Christians who believed Jesus was crucified and rose again on a sub-lunar spiritual plane (a branch which somehow managed to vanish without leaving a single trace in the historical record other than the Prophet Doherty's mystical reworkings of Paul's letters) is one of the less ludicrous fantasies Jesus Myther fundies indulge in. In descending order of silliness, you have Freke and Gandy's Holy Blood Holy Grail pulp pseudo history (no "evidence" too dated or too fake to be pressed into service and sell more books to the clueless), the fluffy New Age fantasy fiction of the person who calls herself "Acharya S" (who needs sources when you can just make crap up?), Joseph Atwill's hilarious Jesus-as-Titus-Flavius theory (I still think this one is actually an elaborate practical joke) and Francesco Carotta's equally moronic Jesus-as-Julius-Caesar theory.

But the one that takes the cake is this guy, who not only argues that Jesus didn't exist but uses precisely the same "scholarship" as his fellow Jesus Myther fundies to argue that the whole of Christianity didn't exist before it was invented wholsale by Eusebius and Constantine in the Fourth Century.Yell

If nothing else, I do have to admit that these Jesus Myther fundies are great entertainment. After all, who needs Tolkien or Harry Potter when you have historical fantasy this inventive?

It's just a pity their crap scholarship gives sensible, well-informed atheists such a bad name.

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Enlighten me.

How is a discussion about whether Jesus is made of the same stuff as God not a discussion of divine v. mortal?

Your problem is that you've assumed that the discussion was "whether Jesus is made of the same stuff as God". That was not remotely close to what the debate was about. BOTH sides in the debate agreed that Jesus was divine. There was no disagreement about that at all. The question was whether he, as "God the Son", was entirely equal to and one in being with "God the Father" (homoousios - of one substance with the Father) or whether he was somehow inferior, subordinate and proceeding from the Father (homoiousios - like the Father) while still being very much God.

Quote:
I don't see that they had a dispute about the divinity of God so who was left to discuss?

How Jesus, as God, stood in relation to the Father, who was also God. Were they the same person and entirely equal (the Orthodox position) or the same person but not entirely equal (the Arian position)? That was the dispute. The divinity of either or both was never in question.

Quote:
Do you believe that there is more than one kind of divine stuff?

Do you believe there is more than one kind of pink unicorn? What part of "I'm an atheist" didn't you get?

Quote:
Show me that you didn't just list those sources from a website.

This is really, really elementary stuff. It's an embarrassment to atheists that people here (not you, this Rook guy) are proclaiming themselves to be "historians" and making such ridiculous blunders. It's like Christians who call themselves "scientists" and then come out with howlers like "evolution is only a theory". If you want a beginner's level guide to what the Arian Controversy was and wasn't about, you can have a look at Bart Ehrman's Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Dan Brown's stupid novel has perpetuated the nonsense that the Council of Nicea discussed whether Jesus was divine rather than how he was divine. Much to the frustration of those of us who don't get our understanding of history from third-rate thrillers.

Or from third-rate discussion board posters. The fact that Rook makes such a laughable error should be a big loud warning bell to you that a 24 year old amateur with delusions of competence is not a reliable source of information about anything much.

Quote:
<apologies for the attitude - I had someone threaten my life this morning and it has made me less than happy>

Sorry to hear that. If I was heavy on the sarcasm then think about how sarcastic we atheists tend to get with some of the more boneheaded errors Creationist cut-and-pasters make about science. This is on the same level of stupidity. Atheists are meant to be smarter and it's embarrassaing to see this nonsense being propogated on a board that is supposed to be debunking myths, not perpetuating them.

Thanks for the information. Personally, I've always been one to believe that a Yeshua/Jesus existed (Probably many - damned common name. It also wouldn't surprise me if one or more of them claimed to be Messiah - damned common claim) but I can't buy any of the miracles that are attributed to this Jesus by the bible.

The son of God in the Bible - as mythical as his father. Historical Jesus - possible. I can also believe Christianity was a construct of Paul of Tarsus based on the myth (which for all I know he created).

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote: Thanks for

jcgadfly wrote:

Thanks for the information. Personally, I've always been one to believe that a Yeshua/Jesus existed

It makes way more sense than the contrived knots you have to tie yourself in to believe the "Jesus Myth" alternative.

 

Quote:
(Probably many - damned common name. It also wouldn't surprise me if one or more of them claimed to be Messiah - damned common claim)

 

Guys called Yeshua were common. Guys who claimed to be the Messiah, on the other hand, were not. Jesus/Yeshua is actually the only such claimant that we can be sure of in the First Century, though there are others who may have been considered Messiahs by others.

 

Quote:
but I can't buy any of the miracles that are attributed to this Jesus by the bible.

 

No arguments there, though some of the simply faith-healing type "miracles" aren't too hard to accept. Especially since the gospels mention that he sometimes couldn't perform any if the audience was hostile (such as at Nazareth). That's a story the Christians need to explain about their "God", but it should give the Jesus Mythers pause as well. It's a mighty odd fiction to make up about a mythical Jesus.

 

Quote:
The son of God in the Bible - as mythical as his father. Historical Jesus - possible. I can also believe Christianity was a construct of Paul of Tarsus based on the myth (which for all I know he created).

 

The Messianic ideas that gave rise to the later Jesus stories and the theology surrounding them pre-dates Paul. You can find the origins of this stuff in Inter-testamental Judaism.

 

That's the other weird thing about Jesus Mythers - they run off on these quaint wild goose chases seeking "parallels" with stuff that has little or nothing to do with early Christianity (Krishna??!! Are you f***ing kidding me?) but they remain profoundly ignorant of the obvious religious tradition that contains the roots of Christianity - the religion of the Jews.

 

After all, Jesus and his mates weren't fricken Hindus, now were they? Use your brains people.

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Thanks for the information. Personally, I've always been one to believe that a Yeshua/Jesus existed

It makes way more sense than the contrived knots you have to tie yourself in to believe the "Jesus Myth" alternative.

 

Quote:
(Probably many - damned common name. It also wouldn't surprise me if one or more of them claimed to be Messiah - damned common claim)

 

Guys called Yeshua were common. Guys who claimed to be the Messiah, on the other hand, were not. Jesus/Yeshua is actually the only such claimant that we can be sure of in the First Century, though there are others who may have been considered Messiahs by others.

 

Quote:
but I can't buy any of the miracles that are attributed to this Jesus by the bible.

 

No arguments there, though some of the simply faith-healing type "miracles" aren't too hard to accept. Especially since the gospels mention that he sometimes couldn't perform any if the audience was hostile (such as at Nazareth). That's a story the Christians need to explain about their "God", but it should give the Jesus Mythers pause as well. It's a mighty odd fiction to make up about a mythical Jesus.

 

Quote:
The son of God in the Bible - as mythical as his father. Historical Jesus - possible. I can also believe Christianity was a construct of Paul of Tarsus based on the myth (which for all I know he created).

 

The Messianic ideas that gave rise to the later Jesus stories and the theology surrounding them pre-dates Paul. You can find the origins of this stuff in Inter-testamental Judaism.

 

That's the other weird thing about Jesus Mythers - they run off on these quaint wild goose chases seeking "parallels" with stuff that has little or nothing to do with early Christianity (Krishna??!! Are you f***ing kidding me?) but they remain profoundly ignorant of the obvious religious tradition that contains the roots of Christianity - the religion of the Jews.

 

After all, Jesus and his mates weren't fricken Hindus, now were they? Use your brains people.

Admittedly, though, it's hard not to notice the parallels with stories from civilizations that were old when the Jewish civilization was young. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly

jcgadfly wrote:

Admittedly, though, it's hard not to notice the parallels with stories from civilizations that were old when the Jewish civilization was young.

 

That Judaism picked up influences from the cultures around it is undeniable. And this accounts for some of the "parallels" that Jesus Mythers get so excited about. The dualism in Christianity doesn't come from Zoroastrianism (or Mithraism) for example, it comes from Zoroastrianism's far earlier influence on inter-testamental Judaism.

 

And that the cults around Christianity had some influence on its language, expressions and iconography is equally undeniable. Where most Jesus Mythers go off the deep end is in claiming these parallels account for the story of Jesus wholesale, their weird enthusiasm for "parallels" that are nothing of the sort (Attis being gored by a wild pig = crucifixion? Er, yup.) or ones that simply don't exist ("Mithras had twelve disciples! Mithras rose from the dead!" Right, come back when you can show me some evidence you silly loon).

 

It's this kooky nonsense that makes most Jesus Myther theses simply laughable. It certainly made that part of Flemming's weak The God Who Wasn't There highly comedic, especially when he cited "parallel" saviours who don't exist. Nice research there Brian. Undecided Still, like many Jesus Mythers, Brian was simply reacting against his fundamentalist upbringing by substituting one kooky, extremist fundamentalism for another. Perhaps he'll eventually grow out of his need for this stuff and learn some real history. Perhaps.

The "Wise Old Atheist" says: They decided to invent a god and came up with one who looked like a peasant preacher from Galilee?! Were they on crack?


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jesus christ is alive: 

jesus christ is alive:

  http://sharetext.org/hwz

 


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de-punkd wrote: jesus

de-punkd wrote:

 

jesus christ is alive:

  http://sharetext.org/hwz

 

Yeah, a reasonably clever fake, which doesn't correspond well to what one would actually expect to be impressed on a cloth actually completely wrapping a body. They didn't even usually cover the face, to allow for the possibility that the person might not actually be dead, and so had a chance to breathe and alert people nearby.

The cloth itself does not match what samples we have from the first-century middle-east.

 

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It is not a photographic

It is not a photographic negative. It merely looks more 'normal' to our eyes when the mage densities are converted in that way than in their original tones. 

If it was a true negative that would imply that Jesus had a white beard and eyebrows, which would be extremely unusual for someone from that area.

What it is is an image where the density of the image is darker where a cloth draped over a face would be closest to or in contact with the solid material of the face.

It has been proposed that it could have been formed by draping the cloth over a sculptured face, maybe of a wax material or something similar which gave off some vapour, maybe when heated, which condensed on the fabric. Such a process would form just such a pattern.

It may have well have been wrapped around a body in environmental conditions that caused those deposits on the cloth, but it really is flimsy evidence to bolster the existence of Jesus, and it doesn't really point to any supernatural effects.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Clement (of Alexandria), Eusebius, Tacitus

Rook, if you're still there at all, can you give more complete references to Eusebius and Clement's attempts to collect or cite all documentation known to them of Jesus? I'd like to have a look at them.

You might want to mention or consider also that Tacitus, if he refers to the Christian story at all, refers to Pilate as a Procurator. This would have been the correct title for his political position at the time Tacitus is supposed to have written, but wasn't the provincial governor of Judea considered a Prefect up until about 44 A.D.? This is a matter of interest since we may assume there were contemporary Roman records of the legal actions taken by Rome's representatives in the provinces; if Tacitus had access to those records, the argument from Tacitus would be stronger (again, I'm not considering the validity of the text itself -- that's a new twist to me, one I haven't looked into). I would expect any later Roman who read a truly contemporary account to refer to Pilate as a contemporary account would -- as Prefect. All the Roman sources that I'm aware of refer to him as a Procurator, which strongly suggests that what they are (alleged to have been?) writing about is simply what people were saying at the time of writing, which is notably after the event.


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Some great links to show

Some great links to show that Christianity is the greatest fraud ever committed by man!

www.exposingChristianity.com

No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

Christians are TOTALLY and COMPLETELY owned!!

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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Curious wrote:Rook, if

Curious wrote:

Rook, if you're still there at all, can you give more complete references to Eusebius and Clement's attempts to collect or cite all documentation known to them of Jesus? I'd like to have a look at them.

You might want to mention or consider also that Tacitus, if he refers to the Christian story at all, refers to Pilate as a Procurator. This would have been the correct title for his political position at the time Tacitus is supposed to have written, but wasn't the provincial governor of Judea considered a Prefect up until about 44 A.D.? This is a matter of interest since we may assume there were contemporary Roman records of the legal actions taken by Rome's representatives in the provinces; if Tacitus had access to those records, the argument from Tacitus would be stronger (again, I'm not considering the validity of the text itself -- that's a new twist to me, one I haven't looked into). I would expect any later Roman who read a truly contemporary account to refer to Pilate as a contemporary account would -- as Prefect. All the Roman sources that I'm aware of refer to him as a Procurator, which strongly suggests that what they are (alleged to have been?) writing about is simply what people were saying at the time of writing, which is notably after the event.

You can contact 'Rook" -AKA Tom Verenna on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tsverenna

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Ahura Mazda

 

The key sources for the existence of a real jesus are the books of the NT. Additional sources include josephus and an oblique reference in tacitus. The NT is not contemporary. Nor are the epistles. There is no certainty about any of their authors.

My reading suggests the books of the NT use Mark as a core source. John is not considered an historical source. Of the references in Josephus one is certainly fake and the forger is likely to have been Eusebius. If true, the second reference is dubious.

At the risk of a further welter of sarcastic adhom from you, I don't see any of these sources as irrefutable proof of the existence of a man named Jesus. I'm keen to hear your opinion on why so many contemporary historians did not notice jesus at all.

In addition, there are a large number of historical gods that share certain properties that the bible attributes to jesus. Virgin birth, son of god, ability to heal, rising from the dead, come to save the world. Why should we ignore these parallels?

Rather than commentaries from theologians, I'd be keen to get some meat and potatoes historical sources that prove jesus really was a man. Feel free to enlighten us.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote: The

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

The key sources for the existence of a real jesus are the books of the NT. Additional sources include josephus and an oblique reference in tacitus. The NT is not contemporary. Nor are the epistles. There is no certainty about any of their authors.

My reading suggests the books of the NT use Mark as a core source. John is not considered an historical source. Of the references in Josephus one is certainly fake and the forger is likely to have been Eusebius. If true, the second reference is dubious.

At the risk of a further welter of sarcastic adhom from you, I don't see any of these sources as irrefutable proof of the existence of a man named Jesus. I'm keen to hear your opinion on why so many contemporary historians did not notice jesus at all.

In addition, there are a large number of historical gods that share certain properties that the bible attributes to jesus. Virgin birth, son of god, ability to heal, rising from the dead, come to save the world. Why should we ignore these parallels?

Rather than commentaries from theologians, I'd be keen to get some meat and potatoes historical sources that prove jesus really was a man. Feel free to enlighten us.

 

 

Being an AtheistExtremist you should know that Jesus is almost for certain a mythical character.  The New Testament is not even REMOTELY a historical source.  It is THEOLOGY and not history.  It is based on mythology and not historical events.

You have 85 books in Hinduism that describe their gods so that means they're all real too?  THAT'S ALL the NT does is describe one god just like other religions describe their gods!  It's not evidence of anything!

You mention the gods that have basically the EXACT same features of Jesus.  Those gods were all BEFORE Jesus and Jesus was the LAST of the resurrected gods! Krishna, Mithras, Dionysis, Osiris, and Horus among others were all gods BEFORE Jesus that were resurrected and they all had virgin birth and blood sacrifice too except for Krishna who just had virgin birth!

You should see the move "The God Who Wasn't There".  It is VERY eye opening and really shows once and for all that Jesus was MYTHICAL!!  Plus the midrashic form of writing the bible is in was NOT meant to be historical but only as metaphorical/symbolic literature thereby NOT describing events that actually occured!

Christians are MEGA OWNED!!

 

 

 

 

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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I generally agree with you JesusNever

 

But use of the supposed historicity of the NT as a sort of baseline proof of jesus is challenging to the atheist position - couched as it often is by the godly: "What proof would you need to accept jesus as an historical figure?". I think the Codex Sinaiticus dates to about 350 and is obviously drawn from older texts, so even if we assume the NT and associated writings are a collection of myths and half truths collated very early and maintained tightly ever since, historicity is fairly taut from the perspective of scholarship.

We run into the challenge that historical scholars use fairly broad brush strokes as forms of proof for a person's existence. For any one else, 3 or 4 alleged eyewitness accounts and references in multiple other sources, would at least prove there was some one called jesus living at the time alleged who was in some way related to the birthing of this cult. Personally, I don't believe there was a jesus. I think the sources are too vague to prove the existence of the son of god on this earth.

Nevertheless, those sources are better than many sources we have for other people from the time. It puts the unbeliever in an annoying position. Even if there was no jesus, christianity certainly is as old as it says it is. Perhaps older. Of course, the accounts of jesus are clearly mythical, unless you truly believe it's possible for a human to be born to a virgin, perform miracles and rise from death. Using the historical method as proof of a magical deity's existence, because the method broadly applies to normal humans, is problematic to say the least. 

Most irritating is that from the point of view of pure scholarship, the historical method by necessity has such fuzzy resolution that we are forced to seriously consider that there is more proof jesus the man did exist than proof he did not.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

Most irritating is that from the point of view of pure scholarship, the historical method by necessity has such fuzzy resolution that we are forced to seriously consider that there is more proof jesus the man did exist than proof he did not.

 

But that's IMPOSSIBLE since there are over a DOZEN CONTEMPORARY Palestinian writers who lived during those 33 years that the bible CLAIMS Jesus lived that never even HEARD of Jesus much less recorded any of the things the bible claims he did! Some of these writers lived right around the Red Sea and they ALL lived right there in Palestine where the bible erroneously claims Jesus was!

The word Jesus doesn't EVEN EXIST IN ANY OF THEIR HISTORICAL RECORDS!!

How OBVIOUS is that there was no Jesus on earth and he's purely mythical.  Remember the Roman Empire and other Christian societies were NOT democracies and did NOT have freedom of speech so they supressed these historical records and prevented the public from seeing the REALITY that Jesus is indeed mythical!

You can do a search for the writers yourself and I'm sure someone else here knows about them but I'll post them some other time if no one else does.

 

 

 

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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While I generally agree with you again

 

any historical scholar would call our case an argument from silence and the weight of evidence would still insist that there was a jesus or bear testament that proactive promotion of the jesus myth is nearly as old and as organised as the myth itself. Personally, I think that the historical method is flawed when it comes to detecting a fraud of this antiquity. I've read a line in Eusebius suggesting falsehoods be used to promote the faith and in arguments with critics the early churchmen were often accused of fabrications. This said, there are staunch defenders of Eusebius and the various interpretations of his words are legion.

I know of only a handful of references to jesus outside the NT and all are dubious, one in josephus being a clear forgery, containing as it does, a complete and enlightened summary of the christian doctrine in a single paragraph supposedly written by a jew. Interestingly, this forgery appears first in the Version of the Jewish Wars in the library of early church historian, Eusebius.

In any case, in the last 3 or 4 posts I seem to have unintentionally reversed my original position, which was that the jesus myth was ill-supported. I still think it is ill-supported but I think the methods of evaluating ancient historical writings are uniquely enfeebled when faced with evaluating detailed and long standing mythologies such as those represented by christianity.

Something else that uniquely supports christianity is the arguable fact that for the first time in its history humanity, in the form of the Roman Empire, reached a point of organisation and globalisation in the year 50-100AD, that made it possible for religious memes to persist in society almost indefinitely, with single ideas, or doctrines, held and polished by scholars across wide geographical stretches for thousands of years.

The attainment of this cultural way-point in human history gives christianity a weight of historical legacy that earlier religions lacked.

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 Just because the Roman

 

Just because the Roman Empire was organzied and spread a religion has nothing to do with it being a true religion.  Actually it all indicates the spread a FICTIONAL god because they always REFUSED to give a shred of evidence that there was any truth to this story.  They spread by force and just said you must believe on faith WITHOUT evidence.  In that manner they could've spread the story of Mithras, Dionysis, Osiris, Horus, etc.  Also this was a time before they had police forces so they used religion simply as tool of power to control the masses and it WORKED but it has no basis in reality.

You mentioned Josephus Flavius well he was born DECADES after the bible ALLEGES Jesus lived for 33 years.  Flavius is not an eyewitness account and  not even a contemporary and yet he's the earliest historical "reference" to Jesus!

The dozen or so Palestinian writers I'm speaking of lived DURING the ALLEGED life of Jesus yet not one of them even mentions the word Jesus!! That single handedly destorys Christianity as a true story and sends it to the mythical realm!

99% of Christians don't even know about those writers and a lot of them would walk right out of church if they did!

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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In case you can't see this clearly

 

JesusNever, we are arguing the same point. What I am saying is that the global reach of the Roman Empire propagated the spread of christianity in a unique way - a way the faiths of earlier civilisations were not propagated. The proof being that along with roads and laws and aqueducts and sewers and public administration, and organised taxes the bastards foisted christianity onto us as well. You'd need to work pretty hard when reading what I'm saying to suppose that in making this point I am claiming this lucky break somehow underscores the veracity of the jesus myth. In any case, the romans were consumate polytheists and even had temples for the gods they couldn't think of, just in case they'd missed some one out. Their ownership of christianity as a business model was a departure from their former military empire, however. You could build an interesting case that the success of catholicism in a great part depends on its use by the romans as a method of controlling other nations. If you doubt this is true, take a look at the pope. He is still controlling vast masses with religious hocus pocus now - 2000 years after the events the bible describes. The man simply has to fart and he is on the front page of every paper in virtually every country on earth. That's power.

I know all about Josephus and the fact he is not a contemporary of Jesus and I'm sure I said the reference in his work was widely thought to be a rank forgery by church historian Eusebius who lived in the third century. In any case, the fact the palestinian writers missed jesus is still an argument from silence and historical scholars will give greater credence to the existence of early christian books than to a lack of early palestinian mentions. This is not a fact that gives me any great pleasure JesusNever and as I have now pointed out a number of times, I think the historical method is inadequate as a tool of investigation for unravelling mythical historical characters like jesus, in support of whom there is a large volume of early writing that has been maintained through a series of unique circumstances. Not least of these is the fact that christianity was spread through the uneducated and superstitious inhabitants of the vast roman empire and for thousands of years now the story has carefully husbanded and morphed to include local mythologies, like Oerstre, by a well organised priesthood with fuck all else to do.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Addendum:RookHawkins wrote:I

Addendum:

RookHawkins wrote:

I regret having that material still available online in certain places. I've grown as a person over the past several years and a lot of my perspectives have changed as I grew more educated on certain subjects. This is why I feel I have some authority to speak on this; I was once harangued into believing that content on the internet was generally accurate even though I had no gauge as to what constituted a viable source and what constituted something dated. Now that I have a strong understanding of both, I feel it is my duty as someone entering the field to educate others on the difference between shoddy work on correlations and critical academic investigations into similar social trends. There is a huge difference and that is what I was pressing the most in my dialogue with XXXX. I certainly don't expect people to trust my old research anymore; I never link to it for precisely that reason.

 

 

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I agree with Darth_josh

 

 

 

                         The un-reality of the charactor jesu christos should be re-examined piriodicaly.   We all grow and  change with time.  This is normal human evolution of thought.

 

 

                          Jesus Christ, or  Jesu Christos,  or Joshua Bar Yusuph,  or Joshua son of Joseph or  what ever name you think to call thus entity.  IS fictional the J.C. charactor is a conglomeration of  meny meny different realities,  both real and imaginary.  Yet when all is said and done;  by this date JC  is fictional.  Now does anyone reading thus; have a different set of facts.  Then speak up;   I would like to hear all facts.

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Apotheon's nonsense

Apotheon, where was this to have taken place links would help.  Also where did this refutation take place?  It appears the typical claims by you are the same claims made by most from your sect and that being announcements of refutation where nothing is proven nor are there any valid factual material listed by you to support this from you.

So, lets see you produce this valid verifiable proof from sources that aren't from your sect and please produce this in your next response.  Take extra space or additional posts if necessary but remember in order for you sources to be valid they must be independent of your sect's websites, verifiable and from secular sources that aren't tainted with the usual nonsense of claim after claims with nothing substantial supplied.  It must be accessible via the Internet and must contain actual factual proof not something that requires everyone to accept blindly your NT or OT which is until proven accurate fictional material and solely written to support the fantasy ideologies your force upon the population and are unwilling to support it with independent contemporary historical evidence from sources at the time you claim for the people and events to have taken place.  Should you wish to use religious material then please use the earliest versions available and only the original portions which are contained within them. 

By religious material should you use it it must be sans the additions and the contradictions of the newer versions and supported by only respectable scholars and peer reviewed.  should you chose to offer anything of that nature then Bart Ehrman has probably commented upon it and is the deciding source as to the authenticity of the material but not the only person who may be used to verify the material you offer.  It is preferable that you use non religious material since factual history is easier to verify and will exist to either support or dismiss your evidence.  Simple enough for you and will focus on the facts not the fantasy or speculation normally employed by people like you making claims and then providing little to nothing to back it up.

So lets see what you have and in the mean time why not submit a chronological list using the 4 gospels of what actually took place in them explaining what you claim happened following the alleged crucifixion. Make sure you list all of the portions of the 4 Gospels and don't alter or omit anything.  Please use the earliest copies if you need to confirm the material and be sure not to omit any claimed event in any of the Gospels.  You can find the list on the FFRF website here: http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=stone  just follow the instructions on the page.  If you should fail to do so within one week's time then have the decency to admit you can't provide it and remember don't draw conclusions or interpret the wording just list the time line out according to each Gospel and include everything in each.  Should you omit or interpret anything then you have failed to follow the rules of the challenge.

 

Have fun and looking forward to seeing what you come up with.  One week's time and it should be simple since you have it all listed out already.  Not one of the scholars who tried have ever been able to complete this task because of the contradictory material.  I don't expect you to take the challenge or follow the rules for to do so would result in disproving the events.  If you fail or give up then that will prove it as well. Have fun.

TFR

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YO, dufus. Check some dates

YO, dufus. Check some dates above my last post. The OP isn't interested in this site anymore. That's what my last post was about.

Soooo, take your 'challenge' to your own 'magick-al' place where everyone is to be shown 'respect'.

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What a nice response

Then please explain why the email notifications show this as a recent addition to the thread.  Had you been receiving the notifications you would have realized my comments were in response to that not to your previous ramblings.  If you had anything interesting to comment on I would have done so, run along now class dismissed and take you poorly constructed negativity along with you as you slink away tail firmly between your legs as the coward you most clearly illustrate by your nonsensical attacks from those of us who are informed and unlike you don't try to buy acceptance because your lack of ability to offer anything of value requires you to do so.  Laughable in the least and dismissible always in your infantile postings angry that you lack even basic skills of discourse and/or background sufficient to even suggest you have the basics to engage in a reasonable discussion. 

 

Run along now as there must be something you can compete in like mud pie making or pulling wings off flies since you certainly can't stick around with the adults here and offer nothing of substance or worth the few seconds it takes to wade through your pathetic posts. Too bad you don't understand the underlying substance but then again that requires some intelligence on your part which you completely prove lacking in whatsoever.  I would continue but I am sure with just the minor amount of wording in this post will keep you busy searching on line dictionaries long into next week to help you grasp the meaning of the terms I employ.  So when your finished I will open class for you again until then run along and do you homework with the rest of your fellow fascist Evangelicals and remember to jot down that revisionist history so you have something to post on since you lack the ability for independent thoughts and must have your talking point given to you by someone else.  Bye bye now junior and make sure your latest handout is used for something other than buying friendship in groups you couldn't associate with otherwise.

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Jesus in history

The problem of the historical Jesus is virtually identical to the problem of Socrates: there are no first hand accounts of either, and the accounts that we have later were written by people who were down right fucking in love with the guy (be it Jesus or Socrates) 

Both were controversial cornerstones of controversial schools of thought; and those schools of thought had rival schools of thought. those rivals had every reason in the world to deny the existence (particularly of Jesus) THEN, as opposed to down the road; and I'm not talking (in the case of Jesus) about the decades in which he was said to have lived, i'm talking about three hundred (and change) years later when Christianity started rivaling Judaism 'and' paganism. Both Jew and Greek had every reason in the world to have said "we've never heard of this guy". Instead, we have a generally known and accepted story of "a guy who taught things, and was killed for it, and whose followers made a religion out of it" 

If today, a few hundred people started spreading a new political philosophy based on the "history" that, in 1777 President John Smith started the united communist states of the Americas in Washington DC, and was executed  by George Washington; the first thing out of our mouths (and pens) would be: "That person, place, and organization is completely fabricated, and Washington never did such a thing". Trying to lock a fictitious character in with people, places, and events that actually took place and that people remember is not the first choice of fabricators. 

In closing, the fact that there was probably a guy named Jesus that taught things which later became the Christian religion is hardly a ringing endorsement of the validity 'of' that religion. 

 

 


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JesusNever, we are arguing the same point. What I am saying is that the global reach of the Roman Empire propagated the spread of christianity in a unique way - a way the faiths of earlier civilisations were not propagated. The proof being that along with roads and laws and aqueducts and sewers and public administration, and organised taxes the bastards foisted christianity onto us as well. You'd need to work pretty hard when reading what I'm saying to suppose that in making this point I am claiming this lucky break somehow underscores the veracity of the jesus myth. In any case, the romans were consumate polytheists and even had temples for the gods they couldn't think of, just in case they'd missed some one out. Their ownership of christianity as a business model was a departure from their former military empire, however. You could build an interesting case that the success of catholicism in a great part depends on its use by the romans as a method of controlling other nations. If you doubt this is true, take a look at the pope. He is still controlling vast masses with religious hocus pocus now - 2000 years after the events the bible describes. The man simply has to fart and he is on the front page of every paper in virtually every country on earth. That's power.

I know all about Josephus and the fact he is not a contemporary of Jesus and I'm sure I said the reference in his work was widely thought to be a rank forgery by church historian Eusebius who lived in the third century. In any case, the fact the palestinian writers missed jesus is still an argument from silence and historical scholars will give greater credence to the existence of early christian books than to a lack of early palestinian mentions. This is not a fact that gives me any great pleasure JesusNever and as I have now pointed out a number of times, I think the historical method is inadequate as a tool of investigation for unravelling mythical historical characters like jesus, in support of whom there is a large volume of early writing that has been maintained through a series of unique circumstances. Not least of these is the fact that christianity was spread through the uneducated and superstitious inhabitants of the vast roman empire and for thousands of years now the story has carefully husbanded and morphed to include local mythologies, like Oerstre, by a well organised priesthood with fuck all else to do.

 

It's funny you mention Josephus because I recently found out that Josephus mentions Hercules more than he mentions Jesus!! LMAO!! So by that very fact Hercules must be a real god too right?  Christians are going to have to include another god in their idol worship!!  Tacitus mentions Hercules as well!! Crazy ChristNUTS are OWNED as always!

BobSpence, the Shroud has already been proven to be a fraud many times over. Even the Archbishop of Turin admits it's a fraud! It was made in the 13th century in France to spread the religion of hate and intolerance called Christianity.

National Georgrahic even had a show called "Remaking the Shroud" where they created an EXACT duplicate using materials from that era.

BTW, why doesn't Rook come here anymore if he posts on that stupid facebook site?  He was the BEST authority on the MYTHOLOGY of Jesus!

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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Seculartheist wrote:The

Seculartheist wrote:

The problem of the historical Jesus is virtually identical to the problem of Socrates: there are no first hand accounts of either, and the accounts that we have later were written by people who were down right fucking in love with the guy (be it Jesus or Socrates) 

Both were controversial cornerstones of controversial schools of thought; and those schools of thought had rival schools of thought. those rivals had every reason in the world to deny the existence (particularly of Jesus) THEN, as opposed to down the road; and I'm not talking (in the case of Jesus) about the decades in which he was said to have lived, i'm talking about three hundred (and change) years later when Christianity started rivaling Judaism 'and' paganism. Both Jew and Greek had every reason in the world to have said "we've never heard of this guy". Instead, we have a generally known and accepted story of "a guy who taught things, and was killed for it, and whose followers made a religion out of it" 

If today, a few hundred people started spreading a new political philosophy based on the "history" that, in 1777 President John Smith started the united communist states of the Americas in Washington DC, and was executed  by George Washington; the first thing out of our mouths (and pens) would be: "That person, place, and organization is completely fabricated, and Washington never did such a thing". Trying to lock a fictitious character in with people, places, and events that actually took place and that people remember is not the first choice of fabricators. 

In closing, the fact that there was probably a guy named Jesus that taught things which later became the Christian religion is hardly a ringing endorsement of the validity 'of' that religion. 

 

There's a HUGE difference between Jesus and Socrates you're forgetting.  Socrates didn't literally tell the entire planet they were a fraud and doomed to hell if they didn't listen to what he said!

Plus they had a LOT of motivation to fabricate some major aspects of the Jesus story since the bible itself TELLS you LIE for god!! The bible was spreading a system of FAITH that fabricated many aspects so it's very possible most aspects of the Jesus story was fabricated. You know that IF any god existed he/she would be respectful of ALL cultures on  earth and not just the 2% that is Palestine which makes the bible/Christianity such an obvious FRAUD!!

So what if the Jews and Pagans didn't deny Jesus?? They only referred to the STORY of a god, not evidence of a god.  Historical figures back then mentioned Hercules and Zeus too.  Those Jews and Pagans never gave a shred of evidence that a Jesus ever existed. Hitchens has a great video on youtube where he tears that mega NERD Dinesh D'Souza a new asshole as he explains how Jesus is mythical.  Hitchens does say that the Jesus myth probably came from a "deluded rabbi" so he was based on a real person just like how Zeus, Thor, and Hercules were too!

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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JesusNEVERexisted, I believe

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.


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ApostateAbe

ApostateAbe wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.

I agree. Albert Schweitzer was right and needs to be considered more in scholarship again. I got in a disagreement with Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar once about the group concluding that Jesus had no eschatology at all according to the earliest layer of Q.  That the earliest layer is small and after all a sayings source does not lend it to necessarily reflecting any eschatology. The "world soon to be over" belief finds itself throughout the NT with Paul suggesting that one should not marry because the time was short. We probably got Christian celibacy from thatI think the way Paul argues to try and legitimise himself in Galatians points to a historical Jesus. I believe that the Jerusalem Church of James, John and Peter was the Ebionites.  They did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was divine. They believe Jesus was the Messiah who was killed but would be shortly vindicated in the general resurrection. They believed that the time was short and that Jesus was returning to rule with the general resurrection.  You can tell in the redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke that failed expectations had to be revisioned.

Paul is the creator of much of the divine element that made the historical Jesus into the CHRIST with his usage of the mystery religion imagery and Greek philosophy.  Paul split from any connection with the Jerusalem Church and spread a new Hellenistic religion called Christianity. The Ebionites probably died out with the second Jewish Revolt of bar Cochba who claimed he was the Messiah. The Romans took out a lot of people. We must not forget there were several other strands of movements about Jesus that were mutating and cross pollinating each other.

The way that Matthew and Luke redact Mark concerning Jesus as a follower of John the Baptist and having been baptized for his sins is an apologetic that assumes a real person.  The reworking of Matthew and Luke to include a father called Joseph shows an embarrassment of Mark and the section where he is called the son of Mary the context of which would normally mean a father is not known (i.e.; illegitimacy).  The infancy narratives which are two completely different stories  for a same purpose indicate a concern about a historical character.  Matthew has Jesus and his parents being from Bethlehem and only moving to Nazareth because they were afraid of Herod's son.  Luke has the parents living in Nazareth and coming to Bethlehem for a census which gets Jesus born there.  These conflicts to me indicate that Jesus was really from Nazareth and the authors are trying to get him born in Bethlehem, the home of King David  ( a belief that the Messiah would be born there).  These types of conflicts from apologetics points to a historical character who was certainly not divine or a Christ but was  in fact Jesus.

 

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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TGBaker wrote:ApostateAbe

TGBaker wrote:

ApostateAbe wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.

I agree. Albert Schweitzer was right and needs to be considered more in scholarship again. I got in a disagreement with Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar once about the group concluding that Jesus had no eschatology at all according to the earliest layer of Q.  That the earliest layer is small and after all a sayings source does not lend it to necessarily reflecting any eschatology. The "world soon to be over" belief finds itself throughout the NT with Paul suggesting that one should not marry because the time was short. We probably got Christian celibacy from thatI think the way Paul argues to try and legitimise himself in Galatians points to a historical Jesus. I believe that the Jerusalem Church of James, John and Peter was the Ebionites.  They did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was divine. They believe Jesus was the Messiah who was killed but would be shortly vindicated in the general resurrection. They believed that the time was short and that Jesus was returning to rule with the general resurrection.  You can tell in the redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke that failed expectations had to be revisioned.

Paul is the creator of much of the divine element that made the historical Jesus into the CHRIST with his usage of the mystery religion imagery and Greek philosophy.  Paul split from any connection with the Jerusalem Church and spread a new Hellenistic religion called Christianity. The Ebionites probably died out with the second Jewish Revolt of bar Cochba who claimed he was the Messiah. The Romans took out a lot of people. We must not forget there were several other strands of movements about Jesus that were mutating and cross pollinating each other.

The way that Matthew and Luke redact Mark concerning Jesus as a follower of John the Baptist and having been baptized for his sins is an apologetic that assumes a real person.  The reworking of Matthew and Luke to include a father called Joseph shows an embarrassment of Mark and the section where he is called the son of Mary the context of which would normally mean a father is not known (i.e.; illegitimacy).  The infancy narratives which are two completely different stories  for a same purpose indicate a concern about a historical character.  Matthew has Jesus and his parents being from Bethlehem and only moving to Nazareth because they were afraid of Herod's son.  Luke has the parents living in Nazareth and coming to Bethlehem for a census which gets Jesus born there.  These conflicts to me indicate that Jesus was really from Nazareth and the authors are trying to get him born in Bethlehem, the home of King David  ( a belief that the Messiah would be born there).  These types of conflicts from apologetics points to a historical character who was certainly not divine or a Christ but was  in fact Jesus.

 

i second all this.  as i've said before, it's just not typical human behavior to make myths or legends out of thin air.  i also think, way back in the mists of time, there was a "historical" odin, heracles, osiris, etc.  were they anything like their myths?  certainly not.  why are all their myths so similar (and so similar to the jesus account)?  simple: humans think in similar ways, humans talk to each other, and stories develop organically through transmissions over long distances for long periods of time.  none of these myths, including the jesus myth, developed fully-formed out of any one person's (or even any given twelve people's) head. 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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iwbiek wrote:TGBaker

iwbiek wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

ApostateAbe wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.

I agree. Albert Schweitzer was right and needs to be considered more in scholarship again. I got in a disagreement with Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar once about the group concluding that Jesus had no eschatology at all according to the earliest layer of Q.  That the earliest layer is small and after all a sayings source does not lend it to necessarily reflecting any eschatology. The "world soon to be over" belief finds itself throughout the NT with Paul suggesting that one should not marry because the time was short. We probably got Christian celibacy from thatI think the way Paul argues to try and legitimise himself in Galatians points to a historical Jesus. I believe that the Jerusalem Church of James, John and Peter was the Ebionites.  They did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was divine. They believe Jesus was the Messiah who was killed but would be shortly vindicated in the general resurrection. They believed that the time was short and that Jesus was returning to rule with the general resurrection.  You can tell in the redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke that failed expectations had to be revisioned.

Paul is the creator of much of the divine element that made the historical Jesus into the CHRIST with his usage of the mystery religion imagery and Greek philosophy.  Paul split from any connection with the Jerusalem Church and spread a new Hellenistic religion called Christianity. The Ebionites probably died out with the second Jewish Revolt of bar Cochba who claimed he was the Messiah. The Romans took out a lot of people. We must not forget there were several other strands of movements about Jesus that were mutating and cross pollinating each other.

The way that Matthew and Luke redact Mark concerning Jesus as a follower of John the Baptist and having been baptized for his sins is an apologetic that assumes a real person.  The reworking of Matthew and Luke to include a father called Joseph shows an embarrassment of Mark and the section where he is called the son of Mary the context of which would normally mean a father is not known (i.e.; illegitimacy).  The infancy narratives which are two completely different stories  for a same purpose indicate a concern about a historical character.  Matthew has Jesus and his parents being from Bethlehem and only moving to Nazareth because they were afraid of Herod's son.  Luke has the parents living in Nazareth and coming to Bethlehem for a census which gets Jesus born there.  These conflicts to me indicate that Jesus was really from Nazareth and the authors are trying to get him born in Bethlehem, the home of King David  ( a belief that the Messiah would be born there).  These types of conflicts from apologetics points to a historical character who was certainly not divine or a Christ but was  in fact Jesus.

 

i second all this.  as i've said before, it's just not typical human behavior to make myths or legends out of thin air.  i also think, way back in the mists of time, there was a "historical" odin, heracles, osiris, etc.  were they anything like their myths?  certainly not.  why are all their myths so similar (and so similar to the jesus account)?  simple: humans think in similar ways, humans talk to each other, and stories develop organically through transmissions over long distances for long periods of time.  none of these myths, including the jesus myth, developed fully-formed out of any one person's (or even any given twelve people's) head. 

Ok, so what ALL you guys are saying is there was historical figure that the Jesus MYTH was based on right?  You CERTAINLY don't believe he walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people by using black magic, rose up into the sky, etc.  You believe a cult figurehead existed and the Jesus myth rose from that correct? It's similar to how Zeus, Hercules, Thor, Mithras, etc. were all based on real people too.

Remember the story of Jesus never became really well known until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD when they made up and changed whatever the hell they wanted.  Before then Jesus was not that well known at all so it makes sense that the Jesus MYTH was developed WELL after. Like hundreds of years later!

I agree with what Hithcens says.  You all should look at that great video on youtube where Hitchens tears Dinesh D'Souza a new asshole!! LMAO!! Hitchens says no Jesus existed but there could be a historical figure that the Jesus myth is based off of.  A "deluded rabbi" he calls it.  I agree that's possible.  So I assume that is what you guys are saying?

Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMo5R5pLPBE

ChristNUTS are OWNED!!

 

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


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JesusNEVERexisted wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

ApostateAbe wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.

I agree. Albert Schweitzer was right and needs to be considered more in scholarship again. I got in a disagreement with Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar once about the group concluding that Jesus had no eschatology at all according to the earliest layer of Q.  That the earliest layer is small and after all a sayings source does not lend it to necessarily reflecting any eschatology. The "world soon to be over" belief finds itself throughout the NT with Paul suggesting that one should not marry because the time was short. We probably got Christian celibacy from thatI think the way Paul argues to try and legitimise himself in Galatians points to a historical Jesus. I believe that the Jerusalem Church of James, John and Peter was the Ebionites.  They did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was divine. They believe Jesus was the Messiah who was killed but would be shortly vindicated in the general resurrection. They believed that the time was short and that Jesus was returning to rule with the general resurrection.  You can tell in the redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke that failed expectations had to be revisioned.

Paul is the creator of much of the divine element that made the historical Jesus into the CHRIST with his usage of the mystery religion imagery and Greek philosophy.  Paul split from any connection with the Jerusalem Church and spread a new Hellenistic religion called Christianity. The Ebionites probably died out with the second Jewish Revolt of bar Cochba who claimed he was the Messiah. The Romans took out a lot of people. We must not forget there were several other strands of movements about Jesus that were mutating and cross pollinating each other.

The way that Matthew and Luke redact Mark concerning Jesus as a follower of John the Baptist and having been baptized for his sins is an apologetic that assumes a real person.  The reworking of Matthew and Luke to include a father called Joseph shows an embarrassment of Mark and the section where he is called the son of Mary the context of which would normally mean a father is not known (i.e.; illegitimacy).  The infancy narratives which are two completely different stories  for a same purpose indicate a concern about a historical character.  Matthew has Jesus and his parents being from Bethlehem and only moving to Nazareth because they were afraid of Herod's son.  Luke has the parents living in Nazareth and coming to Bethlehem for a census which gets Jesus born there.  These conflicts to me indicate that Jesus was really from Nazareth and the authors are trying to get him born in Bethlehem, the home of King David  ( a belief that the Messiah would be born there).  These types of conflicts from apologetics points to a historical character who was certainly not divine or a Christ but was  in fact Jesus.

 

i second all this.  as i've said before, it's just not typical human behavior to make myths or legends out of thin air.  i also think, way back in the mists of time, there was a "historical" odin, heracles, osiris, etc.  were they anything like their myths?  certainly not.  why are all their myths so similar (and so similar to the jesus account)?  simple: humans think in similar ways, humans talk to each other, and stories develop organically through transmissions over long distances for long periods of time.  none of these myths, including the jesus myth, developed fully-formed out of any one person's (or even any given twelve people's) head. 

Ok, so what ALL you guys are saying is there was historical figure that the Jesus MYTH was based on right?  You CERTAINLY don't believe he walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people by using black magic, rose up into the sky, etc.  You believe a cult figurehead existed and the Jesus myth rose from that correct? It's similar to how Zeus, Hercules, Thor, Mithras, etc. were all based on real people too.

 

Remember the story of Jesus never became really well known until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD when they made up and changed whatever the hell they wanted.  Before then Jesus was not that well known at all so it makes sense that the Jesus MYTH was developed WELL after. Like hundreds of years later!

I agree with what Hithcens says.  You all should look at that great video on youtube where Hitchens tears Dinesh D'Souza a new asshole!! LMAO!! Hitchens says no Jesus existed but there could be a historical figure that the Jesus myth is based off of.  A "deluded rabbi" he calls it.  I agree that's possible.  So I assume that is what you guys are saying?

Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMo5R5pLPBE

ChristNUTS are OWNED!!

 

No the Christ Myth was not based upon the historical Jesus. It was pretty much formed by the mystery religions. It got applied to a messianic pretender named Jesus who did teach some neat things. As I pointed out the original followers saw him as a human being that was a good teacher and perhaps the Messiah.  He also taught the world was coming to an end which he got from his teacher John the Baptist. Christians are still waiting for that end which is coming soon two thousand years later. Like Hitchens that is what we said in our posts. By Nicea Christianity had run amuck in the Roman Empire and had to be recognized. It was so popular it was exploited by Constantine who saw it as a great tool to control his Empire. The myth itself is patterned after Mithras, Osiris and Isis and a ton of others. It was just made specific with the jewish and jesus elements added by Paul.  I believe that he did persecute the early followers of jesus and had an issue of doubt. He seems to be learned in Greek philosophy and culture. His epiphany is the application of the mystery cult religions theme to that of a crucified messianic pretender.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

http://atheisticgod.blogspot.com/ Books on atheism


JesusNEVERexisted
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TGBaker

TGBaker wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

ApostateAbe wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.

I agree. Albert Schweitzer was right and needs to be considered more in scholarship again. I got in a disagreement with Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar once about the group concluding that Jesus had no eschatology at all according to the earliest layer of Q.  That the earliest layer is small and after all a sayings source does not lend it to necessarily reflecting any eschatology. The "world soon to be over" belief finds itself throughout the NT with Paul suggesting that one should not marry because the time was short. We probably got Christian celibacy from thatI think the way Paul argues to try and legitimise himself in Galatians points to a historical Jesus. I believe that the Jerusalem Church of James, John and Peter was the Ebionites.  They did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was divine. They believe Jesus was the Messiah who was killed but would be shortly vindicated in the general resurrection. They believed that the time was short and that Jesus was returning to rule with the general resurrection.  You can tell in the redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke that failed expectations had to be revisioned.

Paul is the creator of much of the divine element that made the historical Jesus into the CHRIST with his usage of the mystery religion imagery and Greek philosophy.  Paul split from any connection with the Jerusalem Church and spread a new Hellenistic religion called Christianity. The Ebionites probably died out with the second Jewish Revolt of bar Cochba who claimed he was the Messiah. The Romans took out a lot of people. We must not forget there were several other strands of movements about Jesus that were mutating and cross pollinating each other.

The way that Matthew and Luke redact Mark concerning Jesus as a follower of John the Baptist and having been baptized for his sins is an apologetic that assumes a real person.  The reworking of Matthew and Luke to include a father called Joseph shows an embarrassment of Mark and the section where he is called the son of Mary the context of which would normally mean a father is not known (i.e.; illegitimacy).  The infancy narratives which are two completely different stories  for a same purpose indicate a concern about a historical character.  Matthew has Jesus and his parents being from Bethlehem and only moving to Nazareth because they were afraid of Herod's son.  Luke has the parents living in Nazareth and coming to Bethlehem for a census which gets Jesus born there.  These conflicts to me indicate that Jesus was really from Nazareth and the authors are trying to get him born in Bethlehem, the home of King David  ( a belief that the Messiah would be born there).  These types of conflicts from apologetics points to a historical character who was certainly not divine or a Christ but was  in fact Jesus.

 

i second all this.  as i've said before, it's just not typical human behavior to make myths or legends out of thin air.  i also think, way back in the mists of time, there was a "historical" odin, heracles, osiris, etc.  were they anything like their myths?  certainly not.  why are all their myths so similar (and so similar to the jesus account)?  simple: humans think in similar ways, humans talk to each other, and stories develop organically through transmissions over long distances for long periods of time.  none of these myths, including the jesus myth, developed fully-formed out of any one person's (or even any given twelve people's) head. 

Ok, so what ALL you guys are saying is there was historical figure that the Jesus MYTH was based on right?  You CERTAINLY don't believe he walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people by using black magic, rose up into the sky, etc.  You believe a cult figurehead existed and the Jesus myth rose from that correct? It's similar to how Zeus, Hercules, Thor, Mithras, etc. were all based on real people too.

 

Remember the story of Jesus never became really well known until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD when they made up and changed whatever the hell they wanted.  Before then Jesus was not that well known at all so it makes sense that the Jesus MYTH was developed WELL after. Like hundreds of years later!

I agree with what Hithcens says.  You all should look at that great video on youtube where Hitchens tears Dinesh D'Souza a new asshole!! LMAO!! Hitchens says no Jesus existed but there could be a historical figure that the Jesus myth is based off of.  A "deluded rabbi" he calls it.  I agree that's possible.  So I assume that is what you guys are saying?

Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMo5R5pLPBE

ChristNUTS are OWNED!!

 

No the Christ Myth was not based upon the historical Jesus. It was pretty much formed by the mystery religions. It got applied to a messianic pretender named Jesus who did teach some neat things. As I pointed out the original followers saw him as a human being that was a good teacher and perhaps the Messiah.  He also taught the world was coming to an end which he got from his teacher John the Baptist. Christians are still waiting for that end which is coming soon two thousand years later. Like Hitchens that is what we said in our posts. By Nicea Christianity had run amuck in the Roman Empire and had to be recognized. It was so popular it was exploited by Constantine who saw it as a great tool to control his Empire. The myth itself is patterned after Mithras, Osiris and Isis and a ton of others. It was just made specific with the jewish and jesus elements added by Paul.  I believe that he did persecute the early followers of jesus and had an issue of doubt. He seems to be learned in Greek philosophy and culture. His epiphany is the application of the mystery cult religions theme to that of a crucified messianic pretender.

LOL...you obviously don't believe the end is coming soon of course?

You mention both the Christ myth and the historical Jesus so do you believe in a historical Jesus like Christians do or like most of the rest of us and Hitchens? We say the Jesus of the bible is MYTH but there could've been a "deluded rabbi" that the myth was based on.

Click here to find out why Christianity is the biggest fairy tale ever created!! www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm www.JesusNEVERexisted.com


TGBaker
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JesusNEVERexisted

JesusNEVERexisted wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

ApostateAbe wrote:

JesusNEVERexisted, I believe that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader.  I don't think I could hope to convince you of that point, since for you to accept it would require that you take down your website and reverse your fanatically long-held position (expressed in your very username).  However, maybe you can at least realize that such a position is not as unreasonable as you may think.  When you interpret the gospels at face value (interpret, not believe), then the gospels really do present Jesus as a doomsday cult leader.  He reputedly predicted the imminent doomsday (see Mark 9:1 and Mark 13:30), and he led a cult (of 12 disciples).  Whenever we have myths of doomsday cult leaders, it is always because of an actual doomsday cult leader who fits the same profile.  Examples of such characters are David Koresh, Jim Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and Haile Selassie.  Haile Selassie was the figurehead of Rastafarianism, and he is a very good example.  His cult predicted the apocalypse, and he reputedly performed miracles.

That isn't to say this is 100% evidence that Jesus really was a human being, but we are going for the most probable explanation for the evidence.  We can either (1) explain the evidence with what is common throughout history and the present day, (2) explain the origin of Christianity as something exceptionally unique and extraordinary, with no close analogy in history, or (3) ignore the evidence and believe whatever suits our biases.

I agree. Albert Schweitzer was right and needs to be considered more in scholarship again. I got in a disagreement with Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar once about the group concluding that Jesus had no eschatology at all according to the earliest layer of Q.  That the earliest layer is small and after all a sayings source does not lend it to necessarily reflecting any eschatology. The "world soon to be over" belief finds itself throughout the NT with Paul suggesting that one should not marry because the time was short. We probably got Christian celibacy from thatI think the way Paul argues to try and legitimise himself in Galatians points to a historical Jesus. I believe that the Jerusalem Church of James, John and Peter was the Ebionites.  They did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was divine. They believe Jesus was the Messiah who was killed but would be shortly vindicated in the general resurrection. They believed that the time was short and that Jesus was returning to rule with the general resurrection.  You can tell in the redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke that failed expectations had to be revisioned.

Paul is the creator of much of the divine element that made the historical Jesus into the CHRIST with his usage of the mystery religion imagery and Greek philosophy.  Paul split from any connection with the Jerusalem Church and spread a new Hellenistic religion called Christianity. The Ebionites probably died out with the second Jewish Revolt of bar Cochba who claimed he was the Messiah. The Romans took out a lot of people. We must not forget there were several other strands of movements about Jesus that were mutating and cross pollinating each other.

The way that Matthew and Luke redact Mark concerning Jesus as a follower of John the Baptist and having been baptized for his sins is an apologetic that assumes a real person.  The reworking of Matthew and Luke to include a father called Joseph shows an embarrassment of Mark and the section where he is called the son of Mary the context of which would normally mean a father is not known (i.e.; illegitimacy).  The infancy narratives which are two completely different stories  for a same purpose indicate a concern about a historical character.  Matthew has Jesus and his parents being from Bethlehem and only moving to Nazareth because they were afraid of Herod's son.  Luke has the parents living in Nazareth and coming to Bethlehem for a census which gets Jesus born there.  These conflicts to me indicate that Jesus was really from Nazareth and the authors are trying to get him born in Bethlehem, the home of King David  ( a belief that the Messiah would be born there).  These types of conflicts from apologetics points to a historical character who was certainly not divine or a Christ but was  in fact Jesus.

 

i second all this.  as i've said before, it's just not typical human behavior to make myths or legends out of thin air.  i also think, way back in the mists of time, there was a "historical" odin, heracles, osiris, etc.  were they anything like their myths?  certainly not.  why are all their myths so similar (and so similar to the jesus account)?  simple: humans think in similar ways, humans talk to each other, and stories develop organically through transmissions over long distances for long periods of time.  none of these myths, including the jesus myth, developed fully-formed out of any one person's (or even any given twelve people's) head. 

Ok, so what ALL you guys are saying is there was historical figure that the Jesus MYTH was based on right?  You CERTAINLY don't believe he walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people by using black magic, rose up into the sky, etc.  You believe a cult figurehead existed and the Jesus myth rose from that correct? It's similar to how Zeus, Hercules, Thor, Mithras, etc. were all based on real people too.

 

Remember the story of Jesus never became really well known until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD when they made up and changed whatever the hell they wanted.  Before then Jesus was not that well known at all so it makes sense that the Jesus MYTH was developed WELL after. Like hundreds of years later!

I agree with what Hithcens says.  You all should look at that great video on youtube where Hitchens tears Dinesh D'Souza a new asshole!! LMAO!! Hitchens says no Jesus existed but there could be a historical figure that the Jesus myth is based off of.  A "deluded rabbi" he calls it.  I agree that's possible.  So I assume that is what you guys are saying?

Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMo5R5pLPBE

ChristNUTS are OWNED!!

 

No the Christ Myth was not based upon the historical Jesus. It was pretty much formed by the mystery religions. It got applied to a messianic pretender named Jesus who did teach some neat things. As I pointed out the original followers saw him as a human being that was a good teacher and perhaps the Messiah.  He also taught the world was coming to an end which he got from his teacher John the Baptist. Christians are still waiting for that end which is coming soon two thousand years later. Like Hitchens that is what we said in our posts. By Nicea Christianity had run amuck in the Roman Empire and had to be recognized. It was so popular it was exploited by Constantine who saw it as a great tool to control his Empire. The myth itself is patterned after Mithras, Osiris and Isis and a ton of others. It was just made specific with the jewish and jesus elements added by Paul.  I believe that he did persecute the early followers of jesus and had an issue of doubt. He seems to be learned in Greek philosophy and culture. His epiphany is the application of the mystery cult religions theme to that of a crucified messianic pretender.

LOL...you obviously don't believe the end is coming soon of course?

You mention both the Christ myth and the historical Jesus so do you believe in a historical Jesus like Christians do or like most of the rest of us and Hitchens? We say the Jesus of the bible is MYTH but there could've been a "deluded rabbi" that the myth was based on.

From what I am saying it would be similar to Hitchens but I am more studied in the area and from his post APostateAbe is also.  It is my academic professional background.  What we are saying is that there was a jesus from nazareth who followed John the Baptist. When the Baptist was arrested. Jesus began to teach/preach. Part of his message was to repent, be baptised for the remission of sin because the end iwas coming soon. That was 2000 years ago. Obviously I don't believe that.  Hitchens uses the term Rabbi but there was not a formal idea of Rabbi as we think. The term was used for teacher. There were others like him like Rabbi Hannina ben Dosa who also called god Abba ( daddy) and broke tradition by talking to women. Jesus was more like a cross between his teacher,  the Baptist and the wandering Greek/Hellenistic Cynics or Stoic teachers. he sets himself apart . Whereas the Cynics /Stoics were to carry a walking staff, and purse Jesus tells his followers not to carry them. Galilee was not the most orthodox area in palestine. It is the only area that was ofrcefully converted to Judaism. And even during Jesus's time was only 50% Jewish. Kosher traditions were hard to practice. Plus Hellenistic ideas were very available as the area was a trading route.  Jesus was a preacher/teacher who like several more was executed by the local authorities to keep peace.  His followers were shocked but may well have had ghost experiences like our Elvis stuff today.  They continued to believe that he was the Messiah and found scripture that they thought talked about the Messiah "being cut off" or as the Suffering Servant. 

Paul as a Jewish but cultured Hellenist fought against the movement. But at some point because of doubt and his understanding of the Mystery religions he saw a pattern of the death burial and resurrection of divine figures.  He is likely to toyed with this idea until he had an seizure on the road to Damascus. He applied the myths of the Hellenistic Mystery Religions or Cults to what the Jewish followers were saying about Jesus. He CREATED Christianity.  

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

http://atheisticgod.blogspot.com/ Books on atheism


iwbiek
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TGBaker wrote:From what I am

TGBaker wrote:

From what I am saying it would be similar to Hitchens but I am more studied in the area and from his post APostateAbe is also.  It is my academic professional background.  What we are saying is that there was a jesus from nazareth who followed John the Baptist. When the Baptist was arrested. Jesus began to teach/preach. Part of his message was to repent, be baptised for the remission of sin because the end iwas coming soon. That was 2000 years ago. Obviously I don't believe that.  Hitchens uses the term Rabbi but there was not a formal idea of Rabbi as we think. The term was used for teacher. There were others like him like Rabbi Hannina ben Dosa who also called god Abba ( daddy) and broke tradition by talking to women. Jesus was more like a cross between his teacher,  the Baptist and the wandering Greek/Hellenistic Cynics or Stoic teachers. he sets himself apart . Whereas the Cynics /Stoics were to carry a walking staff, and purse Jesus tells his followers not to carry them. Galilee was not the most orthodox area in palestine. It is the only area that was ofrcefully converted to Judaism. And even during Jesus's time was only 50% Jewish. Kosher traditions were hard to practice. Plus Hellenistic ideas were very available as the area was a trading route.  Jesus was a preacher/teacher who like several more was executed by the local authorities to keep peace.  His followers were shocked but may well have had ghost experiences like our Elvis stuff today.  They continued to believe that he was the Messiah and found scripture that they thought talked about the Messiah "being cut off" or as the Suffering Servant. 

Paul as a Jewish but cultured Hellenist fought against the movement. But at some point because of doubt and his understanding of the Mystery religions he saw a pattern of the death burial and resurrection of divine figures.  He is likely to toyed with this idea until he had an seizure on the road to Damascus. He applied the myths of the Hellenistic Mystery Religions or Cults to what the Jewish followers were saying about Jesus. He CREATED Christianity.  

 

one cannot get a good grasp of the development and history of christianity from reading hitchens, or most other atheist authors for that matter, because their contact with the field of religion is usually relatively cursory, and made primarily for polemical purposes. thus, i often find hitchens or dawkins just as guilty of oversimplifying the subject as a christian apologist like josh mcdowell, only from a different perspective.then again, i consider even john dominic crossan to be little more than a hack, so maybe i'm just a snob.if a lay person (i.e., not a graduate in religion) is actually serious about educating themselves on christianity (ditto for islam or judaism) to the point where they can speak with any kind of authority, i always recommend that they read hans kung’s religious trilogy. yes, he’s a theist, but just barely. mostly, i admire his use of historical paradigms. i think it’s the most effective way of communicating a history of ideas. his analyses are extremely balanced and fair and his erudition is astounding. nobody should be put off by the length of his books, because they’re very readable. he’s just a master teacher, period, and one of the greatest living humans, imo.

 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


TGBaker
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iwbiek wrote:TGBaker

iwbiek wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

From what I am saying it would be similar to Hitchens but I am more studied in the area and from his post APostateAbe is also.  It is my academic professional background.  What we are saying is that there was a jesus from nazareth who followed John the Baptist. When the Baptist was arrested. Jesus began to teach/preach. Part of his message was to repent, be baptised for the remission of sin because the end iwas coming soon. That was 2000 years ago. Obviously I don't believe that.  Hitchens uses the term Rabbi but there was not a formal idea of Rabbi as we think. The term was used for teacher. There were others like him like Rabbi Hannina ben Dosa who also called god Abba ( daddy) and broke tradition by talking to women. Jesus was more like a cross between his teacher,  the Baptist and the wandering Greek/Hellenistic Cynics or Stoic teachers. he sets himself apart . Whereas the Cynics /Stoics were to carry a walking staff, and purse Jesus tells his followers not to carry them. Galilee was not the most orthodox area in palestine. It is the only area that was ofrcefully converted to Judaism. And even during Jesus's time was only 50% Jewish. Kosher traditions were hard to practice. Plus Hellenistic ideas were very available as the area was a trading route.  Jesus was a preacher/teacher who like several more was executed by the local authorities to keep peace.  His followers were shocked but may well have had ghost experiences like our Elvis stuff today.  They continued to believe that he was the Messiah and found scripture that they thought talked about the Messiah "being cut off" or as the Suffering Servant. 

Paul as a Jewish but cultured Hellenist fought against the movement. But at some point because of doubt and his understanding of the Mystery religions he saw a pattern of the death burial and resurrection of divine figures.  He is likely to toyed with this idea until he had an seizure on the road to Damascus. He applied the myths of the Hellenistic Mystery Religions or Cults to what the Jewish followers were saying about Jesus. He CREATED Christianity.  

 

one cannot get a good grasp of the development and history of christianity from reading hitchens, or most other atheist authors for that matter, because their contact with the field of religion is usually relatively cursory, and made primarily for polemical purposes. thus, i often find hitchens or dawkins just as guilty of oversimplifying the subject as a christian apologist like josh mcdowell, only from a different perspective.then again, i consider even john dominic crossan to be little more than a hack, so maybe i'm just a snob.if a lay person (i.e., not a graduate in religion) is actually serious about educating themselves on christianity (ditto for islam or judaism) to the point where they can speak with any kind of authority, i always recommend that they read hans kung’s religious trilogy. yes, he’s a theist, but just barely. mostly, i admire his use of historical paradigms. i think it’s the most effective way of communicating a history of ideas. his analyses are extremely balanced and fair and his erudition is astounding. nobody should be put off by the length of his books, because they’re very readable. he’s just a master teacher, period, and one of the greatest living humans, imo.

 

I am impressed. I had and read most of Hans Kung's writings. He was censured by the Catholic Church and not allowed to teach in their seminaries because of his writings.  I think Crossan has some very good historical analysis but his attempt to salvage a metaphorical Christnianty is silly. So he is a hack on final analysis but it is hard to find actual thorough works on the sociological and economic conditions of Jesus's Palestine.  I think that it is necessary to have a thorough background in the historical critical analysis of the Biblical writings. I emailed Dawkins to volunteer with his programs stating such but did not hear back from him.  I agree and to some extent to see the development of Christianity or Buddhism for that matter as purely a myth popping into existence is an oversimplification. McDowell had a seminar at my college and it was pointless to raise questions. But then I found the non-believing Jesus Seminar and Robert Funk just as dogmatic in their approach.   I've studied under Tony Campolo who was Clinton's advisor and minister. Liberal politics with fundamentalist theology (weird).   Elaine pagels does some OK writings.  her husband was Heinz Pagels the phsycist who died a while back. Most writers have a need to have something to hang a theology on because of the years they invested in it even though they have a completely negative historical conclusion. Fortunately my mentor was a Marxist Atheist, Hendrikus Boers, a student of Rudolf Bultmann and friend of Hanz Counselmann and Albert Camus. He was a friend of Alteizer  of the God is Dead movement.

Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine

 The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine

Edited by James Charlesworth

http://www.bib-arch.org/reviews/reviewresurrection.asp

The essay from Boers on Paul's view of the resurrection is odd in one respect. Boers has gained something of a reputation for telling his seminary students openly in class that he does not believe in bodily resurrection (presumably Jesus' and perhaps others). This has been reported to me and others over the years by various distressed Candler seminary students. It is an odd thing to teach at a Christian seminary. So at the outset of this essay it is strange that he tells readers that he does not intend to reveal his own views on this subject, but rather only Paul's. One wonders why he has become shy. What we have in this essay is Boers's exposition of several Pauline texts, but without interaction with other scholars or notes and references for further study, unlike the other essays in this collection. Nevertheless there is value in this exposition as Boers tries to probe the levels of meaning in the Pauline resurrection texts. Especially helpful is the conclusion that, for Paul, Christ's death and resurrection are integral to each other, such that Christ's death would have accomplished nothing positive without his being raised from the dead as well.

As you can see you can not speak out very openly without being persecuted, loosing your job or being unable to publish in major theological circles.  So one is shy.

 Also see this Alteizer website on Christian Atheism:

http://www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=523

 

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ApostateAbe
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The scholar I recommend the

The scholar I recommend the most for lay readers on the topic of the origins of Chrisitianity is Bart Ehrman.  He is regarded as an authority--not just by those on the outside looking in to the field of critical New Testament scholarship--but also by those who are experienced inside the field.  He wrote a book on the probable historical Jesus, titled Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium

It is the only book of its kind.  Albert Schweitzer is not ignored by critical New Testament scholars.  On the contrary, he is seen as a pioneer--the first to advance a sensible model of Jesus that does revolve around the modern wishful thinking or modern authors.  Modern critical scholars of the New Testament have built on Schweitzer's model and have moved well beyond it.  For those who are very interested in how to argue and make the best sense of the New Testament generally, I recommend Ehrman's textbook: The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.